June 29, 2018 10:27:20 AM
Slim Smith - [email protected]
When life hands you lemons, start a business.
National Lemonade Day, a program designed to teach kids how to start and operate their own businesses is coming to Starkville in August.
On Saturday, local sponsors will hold a kickoff celebration for parents and young entrepreneurs to sign up at 9 a.m. at the Glo office at 419 East Lampkin Street.
Starkville's first Lemonade Day is a collaboration among Castle Properties, Mississippi State's College of Business and the Mississippi State Entrepreneurship Center. Cadence Bank has agreed to provide loans for kids who want to participate.
The program uses the familiar Lemonade Stand as a model to teach kids such skills as responsibility, financial literacy, marketing, goal setting and teamwork.
Organizers hope to use this year's event in Starkville as a pilot program, with the goal of signing up as many as 100 young entrepreneurs throughout the Golden Triangle in future years.
"Loosely, we're thinking it will be for ages K-7th grade, but we're not going to limit that if an older kid wants to participate," said Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach for the Mississippi State Entrepreneurship Center. "This is fun."
Rupp said 17 businesses in addition to MSU have agreed to be sites for the lemonade stands.
Now in its 10th year, the National Lemonade Day program operates in 61 cities in the United States and Canada. In its nine years, more than 100,000 kids have opened their own lemonade stands, averaging $168.08 in profits from the single-day event.
"The more I heard about it, the more impressed I was," said developer Mark Castleberry, owner of Castle Properties, who will serve as "City Champion" for the inaugural Starkville Lemonade Day. "The goal is to give children from all backgrounds the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, to understand the headaches -- permits, loans, costing materials, making a profit -- that go into running a business."
On Saturday, each child who registers for Lemonade Day Starkville will receive a free backpack with an entrepreneur workbook and access to an online interactive program that teaches them the valuable lessons of Lemonade Day -- including how to set a goal, make a plan, work the plan and achieve their dreams.
In addition to teaching kids about business, there is a strong emphasis on community service. Nationally, 73 percent of Lemonade Day business owners share their profits with charities in their communities.
To learn more or to register for Lemonade Day Starkville, visit: https://lemonadeday.org/starkville
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]