Creating young entrepreneurs: Let’s get as serious as Google

lemonade stand

As I’m writing this we’re squarely in the middle of summer. For much of the nation, the heat won’t really let up for at least a month and a half. From a marketing perspective, it’s the best time for the neighborhood kids to set up their lemonade stands.

I wonder how many entrepreneurs can trace their first business experience back to a lemonade stand set up in their front yard. It’s a great experience and a tradition that continues to this day. However, I didn’t hear a person recently comment that the lemonade stands in his neighborhood were all set up to raise funds for charity.

He thought that could be a mistake. Why not let the kids keep the money so they could experience the fruits of their labor directly? There is certainly nothing wrong with fundraising for your favorite cause, but it’s also important to recognize and reward successful commercial efforts. Frankly, if it weren’t for profitable businesses, charities wouldn’t have any sources of income.

As great as a local kid-run lemonade stand is, Google has a program that gives it even more juice – if you’ll pardon my wordplay! Google has a division called Google for Entrepreneurs and one of the things they do is organize Lemonade Day programs across the country. It gives the experience of creating a lemonade stand more structure and pushes the kids in ways that the average Saturday afternoon lemonade stand wouldn’t.

Participants are required to set a goal, work with a mentor, make a plan, keep a notebook, participate in a workshop, and more. In other words, they need to do the kinds of activities that would be required if they were founding a business they expected to last for years and years – not just through a summer heat spell. To see if there’s an official Google-sponsored Lemonade Day program in your city, check out this map and don’t forget to keep up with Lemonade Day current events via their official Twitter account!

I applaud the folks at Google for seeing the need to instill the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth as well as teach them some of the basics of starting and managing a business. And if you’re a parent, I think you should do your part too. Introduce your children to important principles that are necessary for business success.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen something of a drop in entrepreneurial activity in recent decades, with business closures now outnumbering business creation. Perhaps the best and maybe only way to reverse this is to redouble our efforts at introducing young people what is possible through entrepreneurism.

Support your local lemonade stand.