Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Lemonade Day
Inspiring little entrepreneurs with big aspirations

by Jami Marshall, Director, Lemonade Day Indianapolis

April 01, 2013

“You mean I have to pay you back?” my son Wyatt said after counting his wad of cash from his lemonade business. “Yes, like any entrepreneur starting a business, you have to pay back your investor,” I told him. It was his first time participating in Lemonade Day, a free program brought to the Indianapolis area by local inventor and entrepreneur Scott Jones in 2010 and one that I helped to launch and now run. I’m proud to say that Lemonade Day is inspiring the next generation of Hoosier entrepreneurs. Kids learn how to start, own and operate their own business: a lemonade stand. Last year, 15,000 kids participated in the Greater Indianapolis area, up from 10,000 in 2011.

When my son turned six last year and I felt like I could finally handle running the program and having my own child participate, I signed him up. I’ll admit that my husband and mother did the “heavy-lifting” on Lemonade Day, carting my son’s stand to the baseball field where he got permission to set up and coaching him as he officially launched his business that morning. He hired his not-quite four-year-old brother Sullivan to work the stand with him, which I knew would be an interesting experiment in employee retention. Of course, I was busy stopping at other kids’ lemonade stands, which is always so much fun but was anxious to check in with my sons to see how they were faring. When I arrived, I was stunned: these two were rock stars, the Sergey Brin and Larry Page of the lemonade world! They were slinging lemonade across the stand, making change, smiling at customers….it was awesome! As it turns out, Wyatt made $175 at his lemonade stand! He paid his brother a fair wage, decided to save $30, donate $30 to the Tree Fund at his school and spend a good chunk of it on a new Lego set he desperately wanted. But before all of that, he paid back his investors: his mom and dad, who fronted the start-up capital he needed for his lemonade business.

This last bit, finding an investor who will give you seed money to start your business, is a pretty important step for an entrepreneur getting a new business off the ground. Even a lemonade business. One of the first lessons in the Entrepreneur’s Workbook, which kids receive when they sign up for Lemonade Day, is “Finding An Investor.” In previous years, kids have approached their parents, grandparents, neighbors and others to get their seed money. This year, kids can get it from Lemonade Day: we’ve started a Lemonade Day Seed Fund, from which kids participating in Lemonade Day can get some, and possibly all, of their start-up money. We’re very excited about this new program element and want it, like everything else we do, to be a learning opportunity. So, in order to obtain start-up funds, kids will have to pitch us on their idea and plan. Shark Tank-friendly, if you will. They will create a short, two-minute video (camera phone is okay), answering a few key questions that we’ve outlined. A panel of judges will review and score the videos. Every video submission will yield at least $10. The top 50, even more and the top 10, possibly the full amount they need.

Lemonade Day is May 18th this year. I hope to see 20,000 kids out there selling lemonade, many of whom we will have invested in. Literally. My kids will be out there. They have already had intense discussions about going into business together – the little one is now four, going on five. He wants to co-own the stand this year and isn’t settling for being an employee of his big brother’s!

For more information about Lemonade Day and the new Seed Fund, visit

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