On Thursday, April 18, young entrepreneurs stood before judges and potential investors to pitch their Lemonade Day business ventures in a Shark Tank styled event hosted at Station Houston.
I was thrilled to see how these youngsters pitched their ideas after having spent a week with real-life, adult mentors to launch their own small business -- which of course is a lemonade stand. What’s most special about these entrepreneurs is that they ranged in age from 6 years old to 15 years old! Yes, you read that correctly.
Station Houston, a technology incubator right in Lemonade Day Houston’s virtual backyard at 1301 Fannin Street, suite 2440, replicated its monthly Demo Day concept for adults to help our Lemonade Day kids learn more about being a founder of a company and what it takes to pitch ideas to investors. Mentoring the youth were young business entrepreneurs. 12 groups of children spent one-week brainstorming and developing their product and business plan that helped them create their pitch for their own business, a lemonade stand! Their work culminated in a pitch event where judges listened to the groups, gave feedback and awarded the top four teams with prize money. It was an amazing night.
Here is the list of winners:
1st Place - Lemon Drop Kids
2nd Place - Lemon Drop in Kid
3rd Place - Fresh'n Juicy
4th Place - Nanalicious
In addition, the mentors decided to add a fifth prize: an opportunity for one participant to sell lemonade at Station Houston’s next adult Demo Day. Eleven-year-old Alanna Samuel who owns Lonnie's B Lemonade was the winner.
We have even more exciting news; a YouTube show will air episodes of each child, along with the mentors, who participated in the event. The “results” episode will be the show’s finale. Stay tuned for more information.
Most mentors I know want to help change people’s lives. They’ve walked this journey and I’m humbled that they would take the time to work with our kids. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more because these mentors could hardly contain their own excitement working with the kids. Station Houston already wants to explore more “pitch days” for young entrepreneurs. I’m so impressed with Station Houston’s model and am thrilled to watch these very special events unfold and grow in Houston.
I want to thank Meghan Kelleher, Lemonade Day National Development Manager, who set the groundwork with Station Houston. I also wish to thank Station Houston and their mentors for being so generous with their time and facilities. I look forward to growing our partnership and helping young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. I am grateful for Christopher Day, a Houston Lemon Council member for donating his videography services to tape and edit the episodes that will appear on YouTube. All kids were supported by their wonderful parents who provided encouragement and pride in their achievement. And finally, a thank you to our national partner, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers®, for supplying food for the event.
“Lemonade Day Houston deserves a huge shout out for creating such an amazing program. Other Lemonade Day licensed markets host their own pitch competitions – for example, Dallas, Louisville and Northeast Ohio. Pitch events like these enable young Lemonade Day business owners to gain confidence and sharpen their skills real-time in front of an audience of parents, friends, business owners and executives. The value add is huge,” commented Steven Gordon, Lemonade Day National President. “Beyond Houston, the concept of working with an incubator and its members is very exciting. We see huge potential to roll out this concept nationally with similar partners like Station Houston.”
If you want to help Lemonade Day replicate “pitch days” in your area, let’s talk! Please share this blog with your friends, family members, and co-workers. All of us at Lemonade Day National Headquarters appreciate your support! I welcome your comments, questions, and recommendations. Please email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Lemonade Day, please visit lemonadeday.org.