Eight-year-old gets a business for her birthday

Anika Puata-Tkalia has been running her micro business selling free range chicken eggs for almost a year.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF

Anika Puata-Tkalia has been running her micro business selling free range chicken eggs for almost a year.

While most little girls are given a barbie or a bike for their birthday, eight-year-old Anika Puata-Tkalia was given a business.

"The kids already have everything they need and we didn't really know what to get her," said her dad, Jesse Puata.

"Plus it's a good way to get her to clean up after the chickens."

Taking care of the chickens and collecting the eggs is a part of her business responsibilities.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF

Taking care of the chickens and collecting the eggs is a part of her business responsibilities.

The father-of-three looked at the egg-selling venture as a teaching aid for his children, where he could educate them on the value of money.

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"We wanted to make education applicable to life so rather than maths just being for budgeting and money we'd look at operating expenses versus income."

The eight-year-old has business cards she shares with her customers.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF

The eight-year-old has business cards she shares with her customers.

The New Plymouth girl, who aspires to one day work on a farm and travel the world, sells her eggs at $5 for a dozen and $3 a half.

With her profits she was saving to buy herself a husky dog and to help her mum and dad purchase a house, she said.

But just like any other company she has outgoings and was responsible for business expenses, such as chicken feed and fake eggs, which encouraged laying.

Alina, left, and sister Anika are responsible for keeping the business's "books" up-to-date.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF

Alina, left, and sister Anika are responsible for keeping the business's "books" up-to-date.

When Anika's little sister Alina turned five in January she bought into the company for $72.

Now the girls trade together, taking care of business on the ground as well as back in the office, and of course sharing the drawings.

"We have a few customers," said Anika.

Anika has been learning the value of money.
SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF

Anika has been learning the value of money.

She enjoyed being at the helm of her very own business and having the responsibility of keeping the "books".

She said it gave her confidence with learning maths and also more time to spend with her chickens, who were given names such as Tracey, Margaret, Samantha and Bridget - the bossier of the bunch.

"I also like it because I get to meet new people and they can have fresh eggs," she said.

"Fresh eggs taste better then the ones at the shop because they're free range."

Because Anika's birds were free to run about they were less stressed which made for a better product, she said.

"I like animals because animals are different just like people are all different."

Prior to the young entrepreneur entering the business world almost a year ago, the family, which includes two dogs and a goat named Steve, had been practicing sustainability and had a couple of chickens which would often lay an excess of eggs.

Turning the extra produce into cash was the brainchild of Puata's uncle who pointed out he had to buy eggs anyway so why not have Anika sell the chicken's instead of giving them away.

When the Central School girl's birthday drew near in December, Puata and his wife, Marina Tkalia, bought a few more to add to their flock.

She was also given business cards and the basic tools to launch, Anika's Free Range Eggs.

Puata said it had been a "cool" family project.

Together they researched the ins and outs of running a micro business, discovering children could earn under a certain amount without having to pay tax.

They've also learned a lot about caring for chickens, which were the better producers and the rules for raising them in the city. 

"If they can get that business mindset now there's no reason they can't use their initiative and start making money for their future."

 - Stuff

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