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Lemonade Day creates future entrepreneurs

In a national experiment aimed at growing entrepreneurs from the ground up, for two years Minnesota has been part of an enterprising effort to create 1 million new businesses in 100 communities by 2013. Even if only for a day.   

And that day this year is Sunday, June 5.  

The idea is the brainchild of a Houston entrepreneur, Michael Holthouse, founder and president of Paranet, Inc., a computer network services company. Holthouse has been an INC. Magazine “Entrepreneur of the Year,” and his company was twice named to the magazine’s “500 Fastest Growing” list.

Holthouse, now primarily a philanthropist, created the one-day event that is designed to teach young people how to start and operate their very own lemonade business.

The first “Lemonade Day” was four years ago and organized through Hothouse’s own charitable venture, called Prepared 4 Life. The effort gathered together and engaged 2,600 Houston area registrants in 2007. Since then Lemonade Day has grown to include events in 28 markets throughout the United States, with more than 66,000 participants nationwide.  

Working with adult volunteer mentors and starting early to plan their business approach, each child involved gets to make and keep the money he or she earns by establishing a budget, locating investors and giving a portion of their earnings back to their community. Other business strategies undertaken include selecting a business site, opening a bank account, purchasing supplies, setting profit-making goals, marketing, staffing and repaying investors.

Chuck Slocum
Chuck Slocum

For the young people, generally between the ages of 9-15, Lemonade Day offers most of them their first experience of earning money and opening a bank account. Through this business-for-a-day formula, Lemonade Day can, organizers believe, help set a youngster on a path of financial learning and goal setting that will continue throughout their lives.

5,000 kids expected
While some 50,000 kids were hawking their juice on May Day in Houston and other parts of the country, Minnesota’s Lemonade Day is set this year for the more weather-friendly Sunday, June 5.  Locations  for the lemonade stands are available on the local website.

The anticipated 5,000 young business people will be from the central cities of  Minneapolis and St. Paul; other lemonade stands will be popping up in Minnesota communities ranging from Ely and Cloquet to Rochester, Mankato, Hutchinson, Jackson and Worthington to name a few.  

Those young business owners judged to have the best tasting lemonade will be recognized at the St. Paul Saints/Fargo-Moorhead Red Hawks baseball game on Tuesday, June 28.  The winners will even be selling their lemonade to the fans.

Lemonade Day is free of charge to kids participating as each youngster learns the value of a dollar and gains respect for customers. Join me in giving them your business!

Chuck Slocum is the president of The Williston Group, a management consulting firm; he is a volunteer member of the 2011 Lemonade Day Advisory Committee. He can be reached at Chuck@WillistonGroup.com.

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