Lemonade Day: More than just lemonade - Empowering entrepreneurs for the future

Lemonade Day: More than just lemonade - Empowering entrepreneurs for the future Main Photo

13 Jun 2022


More than 40 million new jobs were created by small businesses over the past 15 years. That is two out of every three jobs that were created by start-up companies. This is the power of entrepreneurship!

Founded in Houston in 2007 by Michael and Lisa Holthouse, Lemonade Day is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching every child across North America the business and financial skills that are the key ingredients of entrepreneurship. It was their vision to prepare youth for life with fun, through a series of proactive and experiential after-school programs. A day that is infused with life skills, character education, and entrepreneurship, Lemonade Day has enlivened this vision for more than 1 million children since 2007. 

On this day, the youth of a community are taught how to start, own and operate a business, their very own - a lemonade stand. 

The foremost objective of Lemonade Day is to empower youth to take ownership of their lives and become productive members of society – the business leaders, social advocates, volunteers, and forward-thinking citizens of tomorrow.

Each Child that registers begins their learning journey through the “My Lemonade Day” app. They follow Lemmy and friends through 4 modules. The modules contain videos, slideshows, and activities that help them learn how to create budgets, set profit-making goals, serve customers, repaying investors, and give back to the community. With all the skills that are acquired through this wonderful program, they gain self-esteem which is critical for future success. They get to keep all the money they make and are encouraged to spend some, save some and share some.

Lemonade Day in Ottumwa: Fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship

In support of its mission to assist in the development of a quality workforce and support vibrant community improvement projects that inspire additional growth, Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress participates in and leads the way in local and regional initiatives. As this event was a success, Lemonade Day helps fulfill that mission. There were 12 stands and each of the young entrepreneurs hosting them learned how to open and operate their own business.

Indian Hills Community College was the naming sponsor for the event.   Kelly Prickett, Director, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Initiatives at Indian Hills Community College was one of the guest judges. Pricket talks about the positive impact that such an event can have on young minds.  “It gave area students the basic knowledge and taste of what it takes to run a business.  The process outlines them to think of start-up cost, marketing, cost, and profit of running one.  The students were asked what were some challenges they faced in creating their lemonade stand, how they came up with their idea, and how they would spend their profits.  The program encourages young entrepreneurs to learn how to take profits that they make and share to other causes, save and spend on themselves.” 

Lemonade Day Sign

Lemonade Day Group

Lemonade Day Booth

Paul Katsion, a financial services professional with New York Life was the Chairperson (affectionately called “Lemonhead”) of the Lemonade Day Committee for the event. “We could accomplish our goal of finding and inspiring young entrepreneurs in Ottumwa this year. We had 17 students participate at 12 lemonade stands. It was fascinating to talk to such young people - they were in the 3rd or 4th grade - just listening to them talk about their ideas and plans was great,” he said. 

Katsion acknowledges the unique contribution of the Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress team to the event. He says, “ Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress has taken all of the good ideas and turned them into community-wide involvement and engagement. Without them, Lemonade Day would have been just an idea on paper. They have been the driving force - whether it was advertising or sponsorship. Our committee has learned a lot over the last 2 years and we are looking forward to having other communities close by adopting the same program. We are the first one in the State of Iowa and we would invite others too to get involved in the event.” 

Vetter’s Culligan Water are water treatment specialists, serving the areas of Ottumwa. Mitchell Rogers, Territory Manager, Vetter’s Culligan Water (an engaged sponsor, and they provided the water) was present at the event.

“It was a very positive experience. The Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress suggested to us that it would be a good opportunity to contribute our bit towards the kids and the community. This was the first time that I worked with them, and it went off very well. On the day of the event, I made sure that all the stands were well-equipped and stocked with water.   It was a great day for the kids, there is a lot of learning that happens in events like these,” Rogers said. 

Prickett says that this year, there were so many outstanding participants that it was very hard to decide the top winners in all of the categories. “ We are excited that we will see many young entrepreneurs participate and hopefully we will see them in the future starting businesses right here!”