Mayor Howard Klug recently signed a proclamation declaring Saturday, June 17, 2017 as Lemonade Day in Williston, North Dakota. The gesture highlights and reinforces the importance of entrepreneurship in the community.
The preponderance of information supports the claim that entrepreneurship is important because it creates jobs, increases the amount of capital circulated in a market, and provides the cornerstone of a healthy economy. The impact on individual entrepreneurs is not less important.
Leveraging Lemons into Entrepreneurs
Lemonade Day was founded in 2007 by Michael Holthouse, a successful entrepreneur, who had a vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through helping them start, own and operate their very own business - a lemonade stand
The mission of Lemonade Day, according to their literature, is to help prepare youth for life through fun, proactive and experiential programs infused with life skills, character education, and entrepreneurship. Their foremost objective is to help today’s youth become the business leaders, social advocates, community volunteers and forward-thinking citizens of tomorrow.
A Team Effort
In its third year in Williston, the program was started by the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce to plant seeds of entrepreneurship in the younger generation. It takes a team to coordinate and execute the program.
“The first year we were flying by the seat of our pants,” recalls Drew Baker with Bakken Property Management, a member of the committee since the program’s inception in Williston. “We held the event on a Sunday that year and had about 40 stands.”
The next year Chelsea Bryant from Upper Missouri District Health Unit and Lisa Six from the Crowley Fleck law firm joined the committee as a part of their Leadership Williston community project.
“I didn’t grasp the impact and importance of the program until the actual day of the event,” related Bryant. “The kids were so excited and learning so much. You need to go to Lemonade Day to understand the importance of the program.”
In year two, Lemonade Day had over 90 kids registered with an estimated 60 to 70 stands. The event was moved to a Saturday which seemed to be a better fit for all involved and the event results.
“I’m back for round two,” jokes Bryant as she excitedly gears up for her second year on the team. Also joining the team this year are members of the Williston Young Professionals group anxious to get involved and have an impact on the business community and area youth.
Another big part of the team is the various sponsors who contribute financial resources, mentoring time, and locations for the stands. The funds are used to purchase the backpacks containing the workbooks and mentor guides that make up the core of the program.
The Lemonade Day Process
Lemonade Day introduces kids to entrepreneurship through the real world experience of starting their own business – a lemonade stand. By running their stand, they learn the business and life skills needed to set a goal, make a plan and work the plan to achieve their dreams.
Kids register with the Chamber and can work individually or as a team. Once registered, they receive a backpack with their workbook as well as a mentor guide. The Chamber has a number of local business leaders that have volunteered to be mentors but most of the time the parents serve as the mentor.
Real World Business Lessons
The workbook takes the budding entrepreneurs through a fourteen step process that begins with setting goals and planning. They are asked to think through various topics from why they want to start their business to their business name, theme, and location.
They are guided through budgeting concepts such as input costs, pricing, and margins. Then they have to find capital or investors. Oftentimes that means getting funds from MyParents Bank & Trust
or MOM and DAD Investment Group
. Either way, they end up learning about the cost of capital in the form of interest or profit sharing with equity investors.
A number of other lessons leading up to the day of the event include advertising, building a stand, purchasing, and making healthy lemonade. Each one covers key elements helping to increase their potential for success on the day of execution.
The Big Day
A culmination of all the planning comes together on Lemonade Day, June 17th
this year. The workbook continues through the process with lessons on setting up and running the business. It includes topics on checklists for setting up and pointers on customer service.
They move into the business results and accounting, having to determine their financial details and settling accounts with their capital providers.
The process doesn’t end with the final tally. The last two lessons have them consider saving and sharing as well as reflections and future plans. They think through concepts of spend, save, and share including the ideas of setting up a savings account and giving to a local charity.
Reflections include questions about lessons learned, what they would do differently, and how to apply what they learned to their life going forward. These are key lessons for life in general as well as a potential future in business.
Join the Program
Last year, John Mast’s four-year old daughter participated in the program. ”Having been in business myself, I wanted her to get her feet wet,” related Mast. “While I expected she would likely be just sitting at the stand, she really put forth an effort that day into selling. She went out to talk to people and was excited.”
The program is free to area youth. They can sign up at the registration booth during a number of local events or contacting the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce at 701-577-6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The registration booth will be up at Kid’s Day Out April 22nd at the Raymond Family Community Center as well as during Band Day, May 13th in Harmon Park. The booth will also be setup a couple of times at the Williston ARC, thought the specific dates have not been determined.
Local businesses can participate by giving financial support, providing a location for a stand or volunteering their time as a mentor. If you have an interest, contact the Chamber
for more information and to get connected with Lemonade Day