Lemonade Day Launches in
Picture a spring setting in a small Wisconsin city in which over 50 new businesses are launched in a single day, triggering massive support from the community, an influx of shoppers, and a heightened awareness of the entrepreneurial mindset. That is what is about to happen on Saturday, May 4, in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and the city encourages everyone to patronize these young enterprises.
All this sweet success is due to Lemonade Day, a well-established global national youth entrepreneurship program that teaches leadership and business skills by encouraging children to launch a lemonade business in their hometown. The Fort Atkinson event is set to debut the first Saturday in May, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Over 60 youth have registered and will be putting their business plans into action that day. Since 2007, more than 1 million kids have learned about business ownership by participating in Lemonade Day and hosting a lemonade stand in their community.
After seeing the program work in other cities, the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Fort Community Credit Union to pilot the program with youth in the Badgerland After School Enrichment (BASE) program. The response exceeded all expectations.
Sue Johnson, CEO of Fort Community Credit Union and member of The Lemon Council, explained her organization’s involvement. “We are focused on financial literacy, bettering our community, and supporting entrepreneurial activity. Our motto is ‘Investing in you, with you, and for you,’ so this was a natural extension of what we already do.”
Thanks to the Fort Community Credit Union sponsorship, each child that registers receives a free backpack with an entrepreneur workbook that teaches them the valuable lessons of Lemonade Day - including how to set a goal, make a plan, work the plan and achieve their dreams. Students work with their mentors to create a budget, research potential site locations, brand their stand, and apply for a start-up loan. Once a youth pays their investor(s) back, they keep all of the money they earn and are encouraged to spend some, save some, and share some of their profit.
Fort Atkinson’s other financial institutions are also supporting the program, sponsoring financial literacy workshops and an official bank loan day, where kids learn about concepts like borrowed money and accrued interest. Chamber businesses are offering their locations as Safe Stand Sites, so youth can take advantage of highly visible locations where commerce already occurs. A digital map highlights the location of each lemonade stand so shoppers can easily find the businesses and sample the various lemonade recipes.
Chamber Executive Carrie Chisholm says cities that rally behind Lemonade Day stand to benefit as much as the kids and their adult mentors do. “The impact of a program like Lemonade Day is four-fold,” she explained. “One, teach financial literacy to kids; two, promote entrepreneurship, which is key to jumpstarting economic growth in the state; three, teach kids to be responsible and self-reliant, and to contribute to their community’s development; and four, foster mentorship and bring families together.”
Youth entrepreneurship is gaining momentum around the world. Studies have proven that introducing kids to entrepreneurial experiences at an early age makes a measurable impact on their future decisions related to education, training, life, and work.
Each registered child in Lemonade Day receives a bright yellow shirt that exclaims “I Am An Entrepreneur!” and is eligible to participate in the Best Tasting Contest, the Best Stand Contest, and Entrepreneur of the Year. One lucky child will win a new bike, just for participating.
As youth put the final touches on their lemonade stands and test their lemonade recipes, the Fort Atkinson Chamber invites lemon lovers near and far to empower these future entrepreneurs by shopping their stands on Saturday, May 4, between 10:00am and 3:00pm. A map of stand locations is available at: www.lemonadeday.org/fort-atkinson/stands-map
Lemonade Day was founded in Houston in 2007, and has expanded to 80 licensed markets in the United States and Canada and to six U.S. military bases. To learn more, visit www.lemonadeday.org, or contact the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce at 920-563-3210, Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm.