May 11 can change our country, but you probably don’t know why.

I believe it’s one of the most important days of the year, though...Lemonade Day.

Before you brush me off in laughter, let me explain what Lemonade Day is and isn’t. It’s not a national day to celebrate the sweet and sour drink. Personally, I don’t even like lemonade (I know, I should probably renounce my citizenship and move to North Korea while I am at it).

Lemonade Day is all about entrepreneurship. This video tells it all:

I love the description they provide on their site, LemonadeDay.org:

America was built on the back of small business. Entrepreneurs used to take risks believing they could realize their dream if they worked hard, took responsibility and were good stewards of their resources. Today’s youth share that optimism, but lack the life skills, mentorship and real-world experience necessary to be successful.

In 2007, founder Michael Holthouse had a vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through helping them start, own and operate their very own business…a lemonade stand. Lemonade Day is a strategic 14-step process that walks youth from a dream to a business plan, while teaching them the same principles required to start any big company. Inspiring kids to work hard and make a profit, they are also taught to spend some, save some and share some by giving back to their community.

Launched in Houston, Texas in 2007, Lemonade Day has grown from 2,700 kids in one city to 150,000 kids in 36 cities across America and Canada. With the help of partners like Google, Lemonade Day will bring this entrepreneurial experience to 1 million kids in 100 cities across America, sparking entrepreneurship and empowering youth in a way that’s never been done to scale.

Think about that for a second…one million kids learning how to operate a small business. If even 100,000 of them catch the entrepreneurial bug every year, imagine what that does for this country.

Overcoming the Statistics

Statistically, four in ten children born after 2000 will end up on some sort of substantial government assistance (welfare, food stamps, etc.). Nearly fifty percent will pay little or no income taxes before the age of thirty.

But what if…

What if those 100,000 start a business instead? Or two businesses? What if those 100,000 employ an average of fifty people? (Most will never employee more than ten, but many will employ thousands).

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That’s FIVE MILLION people off welfare, food stamps, etc. That’s FIVE MILLION self-sufficient, tax-paying citizens…givers instead of takers.

All because of a lemonade stand.

Dreaming big

Am I dreaming big dreams for this day? You bet.

John Lennon spoke of people like me when he said,

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us

I hope that you will believe, too.

This Saturday, May 11, I encourage you to find a lemonade stand near you.

I encourage you to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, of leaders, of world-changers.

Visit LemonadeDay.org for more information.

What can you do to inspire a budding entrepreneur or leader today?

11 thoughts on “Lemonade Day Can Change the Country

  1. Dan Erickson says:

    I love that John Lennon line. I’ve had a lot of lemons in life, but I’m making lemonade. What else would I do? Good post, Matt.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I don’t make lemonade with life’s lemons but I can make a mean vinaigrette. 🙂

  2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    What a totally awesome idea! I am in awe of the business model that teaches so many children!
    I’ve been asking myself a lot lately what I can do to raise my kids to be more entrepreneurial minded. Cameron Herold has a great TED talk that I reviewed on my blog awhile back about how to raise kids to be entrepreneurs. I’d recommend it to anyone with kids that wants some great ideas!
    My daughter had a lemonade stand last year during our yard sale and loved it! I wish she could do one this coming Saturday, but we’ll be out of town, I’m definitely going to visit the site and use their 14 step process to help her when she does do one this summer though!
    Thanks for sharing Matt. totally cool.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Any day can be Lemonade Day! In fact, you can do it many times 🙂

      One of my best friends knows Cameron Herold very well and has shared a lot of his wisdom with me over the years. I hope his message and this message spreads!

      1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        you have a friend that knows Cameron Herold?? wow, jealousy is oozing out onto my keyboard as we speak. His TED talk has completely changed how I look at so many things on how I parent!
        And I’m sure we’ll have many lemonade days, I’m excited to dig more into their process and use it to teach my daughter!

      2. Kathy Leicester says:

        Mark, why don’t you do a TED talk, or a TEDx talk, or something like a TED talk. You’ve got great comments, and I’ll bet you’d blow the crowd away.

      3. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        I’m very flattered by your comment Kathy. Thank you. Ironically I’m in the middle of a project that will have me doing several workshops/trainings and as part of that we will hopefully be recording a few 10-15 min segments on various topics to be available on my blog etc.

  3. Bob Winchester says:

    Man, how did you find this? You don’t have to answer that. I just appreciate you sharing it, so awesome!

    To answer your question, I’m going to talk to my 5 year old about this. I never even thought about sparking the entrepreneurial spirit in her at that age, but why not?

    Thanks again for sharing this!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I heard it on the radio locally.

      I think the entrepreneurial spirit, like any spirit (for sports, faith, learning to share, etc.) can and should be instilled from an early age. It doesn’t mean she will own her own business, but at the very least she will be a more valuable employee someday.

  4. Jon Stolpe says:

    It starts in my home. I need to encourage and push my kids first. Many of today’s kids have the world handed to them on a silver platter. That wasn’t true for me. I know I had to work my butt off cutting grass, shoveling snow, washing dishes, delivering newspapers, etc. These types of opportunities taught me the value of working hard. Our kids are missing this today. Thanks for the reminder, Matt.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      What’s crazy is that often it’s not the kids you might think. The myth of the spoiled rich kid has gone out the window with so many first generation wealthy people now. Their kids often are the hardest workers.

      I’ve seen this locally with some families I know…they are dead broke with adults and teens living with them who have no will to work. Sad.

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