Lemonade Day Teaches Entrepreneurship to Indiana Kids

On May 19, many Indiana youngsters will experience the joys — and challenges — of entrepreneurship during Lemonade Day. Founded in 2009, the experience is combined with lessons about starting your own business, and was founded by native Hoosier and Houston entrepreneur Michael Holthouse. Hoosier entrepreneur Scott Jones — founder of ChaCha, among other endeavors — has launched the program locally.

The Lemonade Day web site has the details about registration, as well as a blog about the program. On the site, Jones relays why the concept is so important to him:

I had many start-up businesses as a kid, including lemonade stands with flavored frozen lemonade popsicles, putt-putt courses in my yard, haunted houses in my basement and garage, yard-work businesses, selling seeds and crafts door-to-door, and many other ideas.  I was constantly trying to figure out the “next big thing” (for my little neighborhood) even then! When I went off to college, I put a personal ad in the back of a popular hobbyist magazine that read: “poor starving student without pride or money seeking handouts, including computers, electronics, books, etc.” which triggered people to send, literally, busloads of equipment.  I turned all of this “free stuff” into a self-learning environment in my basement, which taught me much of what I later leveraged in my robotics and technology studies and businesses. 

At 25, I co-founded my first company, Boston Technology.  As a result, I obtained patents for technologies that now enable telephone companies worldwide to offer voice mail on a massive scale to over 2 billion people. Boston Technology merged with Comverse Technology, Inc., in 1998 for $843 million. I also founded Internet-based music service company Gracenote, which sold to Sony in 2008 for $260 million.

Many entrepreneurs talk about their early childhood entrepreneurial experiences when the “light bulb” went off – the moment when they knew they could control their own destinies. It was that way for me and I wanted kids to have that “light bulb” moment, so I created two foundations: The Scott A. Jones Foundation and the Think Forward Foundation, which launched Lemonade Day in Indianapolis in 2010 with over 7,400 kids signing up.

…What do I love about being an entrepreneur? I can attack fun and interesting problems that can improve how people do things, not just here, but around the world.

The program is administered by the Think Forward Foundation. You can learn more about why it started Lemonade Day here.

Lemonade Here!

The inventor of voicemail and (Indiana Chamber member) ChaCha, Scott Jones, has developed a pretty brilliant way to get youngsters involved in entrepreneurship. It’s the same way Jones got involved at age 10 — a lemonade stand. Read below to see how your little ones can get involved in Lemonade Day in Indianapolis:

Lemonade Day is a free, city-wide initiative designed to teach kids (primarily k-8) how to start, own and operate their own business – a lemonade stand.

It’s easy to sign up, here’s how:

1. Pair Up:  Youth participating in Lemonade Day must work with a "caring adult" – could be a parent, grandparent, older sibling or other responsible adult.

2. Register:  Sign up online or register @ any branch of the Marion County Public Library or YMCA.

3. Pick Up Your Backpack:  If you registered online, print out the reply you get from us and take it to any branch of the Marion County Public Library or YMCA to get your backpack. As mentioned above, you can also register there. Each youth who registers will receive a bright yellow backpack – inside is everything you need to prepare for Lemonade Day.

4. Sign Up for ChaCha’s Lemonade Day Text Alerts: It’s easy. "Caring adults": using your cell phone, text LEMONVIP to 242242. Once you sign up, we’ll send text messages to your phone with helpful tips and updates.

5. Prepare for Lemonade Day:  When you get your backpack, you’ll find two workbooks: one for the youth and one for the caring adult. Spend the next few weeks – at your own pace – working through these lessons around starting, owning and operating a business.

6. Set Up Your Stand on May 2nd:  We’ll be posting information about other places (in addition to your neighborhood) where you can set up your stand, so be sure to re-visit our web site in the coming days…..On May 2nd, you’ll be one of thousands of kids across the Greater Indianapolis Area selling lemonade – think about how to stand out from your competitors and have a blast!