The Lessons Of A Lemonade Stand

National Lemonade Day

Little girls are naturally imaginative and industrious. In class or at home, learning that they can make their ideas a reality sparks their motivation. With a bit of encouragement, they will find ways to be productive, leading to a lifetime foundation of self direction and self confidence.

After entrepreneur Michael Holthouse sold his telecommunications company to Sprint, he embarked on a worldwide adventure to learn what makes people and communities successful. He identified a common trait in those who succeed: an entrepreneurial spirit, encompassing a positive outlook, confidence, and a sense of empowerment. This led him to his next startup: Prepared 4 Life, a Houston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to revolutionizing the way children learn by teaching entrepreneurship, especially to at-risk youth.

Spending time with his daughter focused Holthouse’s thinking on what would become his best-known initiative. At his daughter’s urging, the two of them created a lemonade stand, which became an all-in-one-day, concentrated entrepreneurial experience.

Holthouse taught his daughter to break the project into its elements and tackle them:

  • Create a plan.
  • Analyze the market.
  • Borrow money.
  • Procure supplies.
  • Produce the product.
  • Price it.
  • Differentiate it.
  • Consider location.
  • Manage the money.

Once she had paid back her investor (presumably Dad), she put one-third of her earnings in the bank, kept one-third for herself, and gave one-third to charity.

Holthouse saw a transformation in his daughter and realized that through a simple lemonade stand, children could learn entrepreneurial and financial lessons. He began National Lemonade Day, an annual event that provides step-by-step instructions for children to start, own and operate a lemonade stand with a “third-third-third” model of “spend some, save some, share some.” Dozens of cities have joined Lemonade Day, and Google for Entrepreneurs is now partnering with Lemonade Day to develop an online curriculum for children around the world to become entrepreneurs for a day, and who knows? Maybe for life.

Lemonade Day isn’t limited to girls, and neither is the value of entrepreneurial education.

The key is for children to find opportunities for projects that bolster their autonomy and intrinsic motivation.

I’d love to hear about your experiences in finding projects for your children to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. What were the circumstances? And what were the results? Thank you for sharing.

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