How It Works | The Children's Business Fair UK

Six steps to launch!


Apply via the CBF website.


Once you’ve applied, we’ll send you a starter pack. Use this to create a simple business plan. Teach yourself about revenue, costs and profit. Understand how to estimate how much money your business will make.

Around 5 weeks before the fair, we’ll tell you if your application has been successful. Time to get busy!


Come up with a catchy name, create your brand and plan what your stand will look like. And, of course, get busy making your products!


Think carefully about who will come to the fair. How many people will you tell about your business and how will you persuade them to come to the fair? What will you do to attract customers to your booth? How are you going to convince them to buy your products?


It’s the day of the fair – gather up your products, your decorations and your team. Set up your stand and get ready for your first sale!


Guest judges award cash prizes for Best Sales Pitch, Best Product, Best Stand and Judges’ Choice.


  • The Children’s Business Fair is a one-day marketplace that gives young entrepreneurs (7-17) the opportunity to launch businesses, sell in an authentic environment and earn their own money.
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  • Saturday, 15th June 2024 (County Mall)
    Saturday, 6th July 2024 (Farnham Maltings)
    Saturday, 13th July 2024 (High St, Guildford)
    Saturday, 20th July 2024 (Park St, Camberley)

Summer 2024 applications close:

  • Crawley closes Fri, 24th May 2024 (5pm)
  • Farnham closes Fri, 31st May 2024 (5pm)
  • Guildford closes Fri, 7th June 2024 (5pm)
  • Camberley closes Fri, 14th June 2024 (5pm)
  • 8.30am Entrepreneurs set up
  • 9.30am CBF starts
  • 2.30pm Prize giving
  • 3.30pm Event ends
  • **Please note, these are rough timings and may vary depending on the location**


  • Entrepreneurs aged 7 to 17 on the date of the business fair can participate.

Summer 2024 applications close:

  • Crawley closes Fri, 24th May 2024 (5pm)
  • Farnham closes Fri, 31st May 2024 (5pm)
  • Guildford closes Fri, 7th June 2024 (5pm)
  • Camberley closes Fri, 14th June 2024 (5pm)


Sadly, we cannot provide electricity or running water at any of the events.

Summer 2024

  • CRAWLEY – in County Mall. (You will be provided with a 4ft table and two chairs).
  • CAMBERLEY – on Park Street as part of the Camberley Beach Party. (You will be provided with a gazebo, 4ft table and two chairs.)
  • GUILDFORD – on the High Street. (You will be provided with a gazebo, 4ft table and two chairs.)
  • FARNHAM  – The Maltings courtyard as part of The Maltings Monthly Market. (You will be provided with a gazebo, a 4ft or 6ft table and two chairs.)

We are planning to accept:

  • Up to 20 businesses in Crawley
  • Up to 30 businesses in Camberley
  • Up to 35 businesses for Farnham
  • Up to 40 businesses for Guildford

Entrepreneurs launching products that they’ve made themselves will be prioritised.

  • We do not accept businesses selling second-hand items or reselling bought stock. We do accept businesses who add value to second-hand items (eg: up-cycling and customising second-hand clothes.)


  • We do not accept businesses selling hot food, as you will be required to obtain a food hygiene certificate – an expensive and time-consuming exercise.
  • Please note that baked goods (biscuits, cakes etc) are acceptable as they are considered ‘low risk’. However, as they are popular businesses to launch, we will not be able to accept all businesses in this category. We also remind you that baking is often a stressful, last-minute business with low profits – be warned!
  • All food businesses must follow a simple allergens and preparation guidelines, with clear labelling throughout.
  • Questions? Get in touch:

There is a £30 stand fee from all accepted businesses.

  • This is to reserve the entrepreneur’s spot at the fair and hold them accountable to attend as stalls are limited.
  • We require this fee to be paid within 48hours of acceptance.
  • If not paid on time, your spot will be released to our waiting list.
  • If you struggle to pay for the start-up cost and stand fee, please get in touch to find out more about the CBF Scholarship.
  • **Please note – refunds will not be issued for cancellations after 14 days before the event**

If the event is cancelled for any reason (eg: high winds):

  1. If we manage to find an alternative date for that cohort, you can transfer your place.
  2. If you cannot make the alternative date, you can postpone your spot to the next cohort of events (not beyond the next cohort).
  3. If neither are suitable, you can either donate your stand fee to the CBF or request a refund (minus PayPal fee).


  • When you apply, we will send you a starter pack called My Business Plan. It’s a simple guide to starting a business and features ideas for start-up businesses.
  • Applications must be submitted online.
  • Please submit one application for each business.
  • If you are working as a group, you should submit one application that includes each of your teammates’ information.
  • No more than 3 participants per business.

The application asks you to think through some simple but important elements of your business:

  • What product or service do you plan to sell?
  • What price will you charge for each product/service?
  • How much will each product/service cost you?
  • How will you pay for your startup costs? If someone is helping you with your startup costs, how will you pay that person back?
  • How will you advertise/market your business before the fair?
  • At the end of the fair, how will you determine if your business was a success?

We choose successful applicants on a number of criteria. The two most important:

    How original is the idea? Original ideas always catch our eye. Do your research and check out our socials for businesses that do well.
    How much effort have you put into your application? The more detail you add to your application gives us a stronger indication of how well you know your business and how passionate you are.

Two baking businesses?

  • In general, we let market forces play out. So, how will you make your product stand out? What is going to make you better than the competition? Your brand, quality or stand? Or all three?
  • **PLEASE NOTE** There’s always LOTS of competition in jewellery. (We had 35 jewellery applications for the Winter 2023 events!) Think really carefully about how to make your idea stand out, as sadly we cannot accept them all.
  • This event is designed to give young entrepreneurs the experience of creating a business and selling their products.
  • **Please note** As entrepreneurs are selling in a public space, at least one parent/carer per business is required to attend at all times.
  • Beyond this, whilst parents can help fill out the application, we expect participants to do as much as possible by themselves. Participants should be responsible for set-up, customer interaction and sales.
  • If a parent is found creating a business for participants or selling or promoting their product or service, the business will not be eligible for a prize.
  • Yes. We have awards in specific categories: Best Product, Best Stand, Best Sales Pitch and Judges’ Choice.
  • All entries will be automatically entered into the competition.
  • Judges will ask the entrepreneurs questions about the fundamentals of their business, such as how they came up with product prices and who their target market is.
  • Judges will evaluate how much of the business reflects their own work (versus parents’).
  • Our experience has shown that when parents have the courage to step back from the process, young entrepreneurs enjoy the experience considerably more.
  • So, let them imagine, create and problem-solve. Resist the temptation to help out. Your job is to maintain enthusiasm and provide encouragement.
  • Keep it simple. Let the business plan, booth design, and sales patter reflect them at their best – not your best.
  • Let them fail, make mistakes and then learn from them. Let them problem-solve and come up with their own solutions. Let them be messy! Let them be Chair of the Board and CEO! Let them own their ideas.
  • If your child gets stuck, return to the key question for their entrepreneurial journey: “What can I make with my own hands that others might enjoy?”
  • The Children’s Business Fair was originally developed in 2007 by Acton Academy – an organisation based in Austin, Texas. Acton believes in the power of work and entrepreneurship to improve self-esteem and build strong communities.
  • After several successful fairs, founders Jeff and Laura Sandefer gave others the opportunity for others to host their own fairs. Children’s Business Fairs have since spread all around the world.