9-year-old entrepreneur breaks into tourism tech market

Need some ideas about fun places to take your kids on P.E.I.? Simple, ask another kid.

Ava King develops online directory to find family-friendly spots on P.E.I.

Ava King, the creator of PurpleFox, an online directory for family-friendly spots on P.E.I. (CBC)

Anyone who goes on vacation with children knows the stress of finding the right place to eat or play.

Now, an Island entrepreneur is helping solve that, with an online directory that puts all the kid-approved spots just a click away.

Creator Ava King is a bit of an expert on family-friendly spots. After all she's just nine years old, and came up with the idea herself.

"I was walking downtown and I heard some people mumbling to each other that they couldn't find somewhere to go with their kids, because they were on the Island for a visit," she said. "So I decided to solve that problem."

The online directory is called Purple Fox. Users can go to the site and search the kind of place they're looking for.

PurpleFox is a directory of restaurants, playgrounds, and activities both indoors and outdoors on P.E.I.
"So you can search up 'indoors', and it would show playgrounds indoors, or things to do indoors," said Ava. "And if you searched up 'outdoors', it would show beaches and playgrounds."

King is using social media to spread the word, and get suggestions for activities and spots to add.

"I get recommendations on Facebook, my mom's Facebook or my Facebook," she said. "From my friends, or even just driving."

Growing bigger

The site is still growing as she adds all the spots she's collected.

There are 17 so far, with another 20 to be added soon.

Ava and her mother, Hannah Bell, had a launch party for PurpleFox at East Coast Startup Week in Charlottetown. (CBC)
"It takes a lot of energy and time, and my mom on the first day, she would be like, 'Ava, I know this is hard but you have to have patience, this is going to take awhile.' And so I was like, okay, I was biting my lip because I really wanted it done. And now it's done and I'm excited," said Ava.

The listings are free for users and for the business, but if someone wants to promote their spot on the site, King is also selling ads.

"I have a little jar on my shelf with coins in it," she said. "It's called The Vacation Fund, me and Mom want to go on a vacation."

Ava said she's pleased with the interest in the site that she's getting so far.

With files from Sarah MacMillan