Kids learn about starting up small businesses through Lemonade Day program

By Rod Spaw 331-4338 |
February 10, 2012

Indianapolis had 10,000 in 2011. Houston, where it all began, had 50,000 last year.

Compared to those numbers, Bloomington’s inaugural foray this year into the national Lemonade Day program seems modest. Organizers want to find at least 200 local children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are interested in learning how to start and to operate a small business.

However, local promoters say there’s much more involved than just raising the next generation of capitalists.

Steve Bryant, executive director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, says the bigger picture is teaching kids the importance of such things as planning, personal responsibility, goal setting and philanthropy. He said the program shows kids how to be self-sufficient and empowers them with collaboration and problem solving skills.

The Cook Center is only one of the community partners bringing Lemonade Day to Bloomington. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington, the Bloomington and Monroe County governments are involved, as well as long list of local businesses, as sponsors. Volunteers also will be needed to serve as adult mentors to the youthful entrepreneurs and guide them as they execute the business plans they will create for their own stands.

Financial assistance has been provided by the Coleman Foundation, which supports entrepreneurship education across the country. Bryant said a grant from the foundation will pay for teaching materials that each participant will receive in a backpack in early March.

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County also will help defray some cost of lemonade stand building materials. As a result, local sponsors say, the actual costs to the children will be minimal.

However, participants aren’t expected to get a free ride into the business world. One of the requirements is for the children — who may either work alone or in teams — to find “investors” to loan them money to cover the cost of such things as the ingredients for the lemonade.

That money is to be repaid at an agreed upon rate from the proceeds of sales on May 19, which is the day set for lemonade stands to sprout across Bloomington.

Learn more

Two information sessions for Bloomington’s first Lemonade Day will be held later this month at the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club at 311 S. Lincoln St.

The first session will be 6:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 23, and the second will be 10 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 25.

Participation is open to children age 5 to 15 years. Persons interested in serving as adult mentors or volunteers also are invited to attend.

May 19 is the day set this year for Lemonade Day sales throughout the community.

More information is available at or by calling the Boys and Girls Club at 332-5311.

Copyright: 2012

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.