A few weeks ago I was walking down the road pushing S in his pram. It was pretty hot and I’d run out of water. A few blocks away from where I live I saw some kids standing outside their house selling lemonade. Each plastic cup was £1! I decided to buy one, not really to quench my thirst (although it did go down a treat) but to support what I thought was quite an entrepreneurial spirit in boys so young.
I remember reading about “Lemonade Day” in the US a few months ago. On the first Sunday in May, children from all over the US are encouraged to set up lemonade stands to teach them in an experiential way, the step by step process of starting and implementing a small business. I think this is such a brilliant idea.
Kids learn a lot in school but very often you see that the most successful people (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson – to name a few) are not the ones of completed degrees and masters in their chosen field but the ones who went out there with a vision and took a risk, those who didn’t take no for an answer.
My brother Sam (pictured below) has always been quite entrepreneurial himself. When we were in boarding school in Ireland, we’d go home to Nigeria for the summer. When returning to school he’d line the bottom of his suitcase with Indomie ready noodle packets (which my mom would buy him, costing him nothing) and when he got back to school and boys in his dorm were hungry after hours, he’d sell them a packet for £1. He was only 11.
In todays day and age, with the recession and the economy in a dire state, we could do with a few more entrepreneurs.
Another beautiful story of how a lemonade stand has helped create awareness is Alexandra Scott’s story.
She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer. While she was in hospital she told her parents she’d like to have her own lemonade stand to raise money for the hospital in which she was cared for. Although she sadly passed away at the age of 8, she has raised millions of dollars to help find a cure for the condition that took her life and her brothers continue her legacy through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Here’s a great TED talk about how we can encourage and groom our children to be more entrepreneurial: