What was your first business? For many of us, it was the classic lemonade stand. Finding the best location for a booth, pricing the product, and dealing with customers can help budding entrepreneurs get a taste for what it takes to run a successful small business.
Lemonade Day, a nonprofit program founded in 2007 by Michael Holthouse, encourages children to become entrepreneurs by launching their own lemonade stands. The program, which is open to 3- to 18-year-olds nationwide, helps kids set up successful stands with the assistance of adult mentors. By 2014, organizers aim to reach 1 million young people in 100 U.S. cities.
Children in the places where Lemonade Day currently operates — such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, and San Antonio — have several options for getting involved:
- Individual — Parents can help their child enroll in the program online, download the curriculum, and work with a local mentor.
- After-School Programs — Boston’s Citizen Schools, the Boys & Girls Clubs, and others have adopted the Lemonade Day curriculum, so that any child involved in these programs has the opportunity to participate.
- School-based programs – The Lemonade Day program is being incorporated into middle-school math curricula. Houston public schools teach it to more than 15,000 students, and several Boston area schools have launched pilot programs.
Check Lemonade Day’s map to see whether the program operates in your area. (If it doesn’t, parents may download the organization’s app to plan a lemonade stand operation with their children.)
This year’s Lemonade Day takes place on May 5. Check out the site for more details on enrolling your children, registering as a volunteer, or donating time or money.
Why make entrepreneurship a priority for your children? Although many young people say they’d like to become entrepreneurs, few have hands-on experience in business: A 2012 Gallup poll found that 43 percent of U.S. students in grades 5 through 12 wanted to start businesses, but only 7 percent of them currently had an internship with a local business.
A lemonade stand may seem like a small way to start, but with determination, it can become a profitable enterprise. Sebastian Kuipers, a Michigan boy who started a gourmet lemonade stand at age 9, began selling his products at farmers’ and flea markets, where he brings in more than $400 a week.
By taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Lemonade Day and other youth-focused entrepreneurial organizations, such as the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Build.org, kids can develop the skills they need to adapt to a changing economy — and succeed in business on their own terms.