Lemons or lemonade? At Lemonade University kids learn the difference
“Hey, Mister? Wanna see why my grandma’s lemonade is the best in the region?”
On June 19, make sure you’ve got some change jingling in your pocket. It is Lemonade Day and countless budding entrepreneurs in Northern Alberta from kindergarten through high school will be running lemonade stands based on the skillset they learn by attending Lemonade University.
Lemonade Day started in Houston, Texas in 2007 as a strategic lesson-based program that takes the students through the steps involved in running a business. Since that first year, over one million children throughout North America have participated. It is offered in many towns and cities in Northern Alberta, and in Chestermere and Okotoks.
Using a lemonade stand to teach the principles required to start a company is brilliant. Children can grasp the idea of setting up the stand, making the lemonade, procuring the materials to deliver the product, and managing the funds. Interestingly, those are the same principles required to run any household or successful business. Lemonade University just makes it fun.
Lemonade Day was brought to Northern Alberta in 2018 by one Community Futures office and is now offered in 11 regions in Northern Alberta. Registration has already opened but that’s OK. Participants have until June 1 to sign up. Many towns have signed on to participate but not all will host a Lemonade University. Check the Northern Alberta Lemonade Day website for locations that are participating and hosting universities. If you are interested in being a mentor or donating, click on that site too.
Covid has forced a lot of businesses to pivot , including here at FestivalSeekers. We launched a Facebook Live festival recently call the #BuyBasin Festival. Our partnership with a host of entrepreneurs and creators, is designed to help small-town businesses in the Columbia Basin in B.C. The festival runs through April 27 and features more than 100 businesses who get to share their passions with people through their very own Facebook Live sessions. It's meant to help then gain new audiences and customers. Learn all about it here and RSVP here to check it out.
Once registered, each budding tycoon will receive a backpack with an Entrepreneur Workbook full of the necessities of running a business. Community Futures instructors, mentors and volunteers teach the important aspects including creating budgets, setting goals, how to attract customers, how to repay investors, saving. and giving back. In 2019, the participants donated over $9,000 to local charities of their choosing. Participants are encouraged to share their results so they can enter to win a new bike. There are also awards for categories from best lemonade to best entrepreneur.
The best part about Lemonade Day is, the pint-sized business leaders can return each year building on what worked or didn’t work for them the previous year.
It’s never too soon to plant the seeds of empowerment. As the little dragons build their business, they learn problem-solving techniques, gain self-esteem and have fun. And the university is free.
If you have a mini Warren Buffet in the house, sign him or her up before June 1 so they can start planning, building and learning.
On June 19, there will be hundreds of lemonade stands to stop at. I hope you are thirsty!
NOTE: For 2021, due to the covid situation, the program will make adjustments to make sure the kids, parents, staff and communities are protected.