Picture a spring setting in a small town 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 will happen on Saturday, May 2, as the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce prepares for its second year as a Lemonade Day city.
Lemonade Day is 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 for the first Saturday in May, from 10:00am to 3:00pm, and registration is now open. Over 60 youth registered for last year’s event, resulting in 25 lemonade stands. 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.
The event is made possible in Fort Atkinson because of a partnership with Fort Community Credit Union, which sponsored the program license, and with youth in the Badgerland After School Enrichment (BASE) program. Students throughout the community are welcome to participate, however, including parochial school and home-schooled children.
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 youth pay 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.
Participants also receive a bright yellow shirt that exclaims “I Am An Entrepreneur!” and each child is then eligible to participate in the Best Tasting Contest, the Best Stand Contest, and the Entrepreneur of the Year. One lucky child will win a new bike, just for participating.
Fort Atkinson’s other financial institutions are also supporting the program, sponsoring 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.
Families can register their students on the chamber website at www.fortchamber.com
, or on the Lemonade Day website at www.lemonadeday.org/fort-atkinson
. A kick-off event is scheduled for March 18, at Luther Elementary School, beginning at 4:30pm. Students will be able to claim their backpacks and workbooks at this time and learn about other group mentoring opportunities.
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.