(credit: Jennifer Knowles)
So, your child comes to you and wants to sell lemonade. Seems easy enough and, of course, you want to encourage his or her desire to earn some money. Maybe your kid has been wanting a toy or game, and the timing is perfect for lessons on earning money and entrepreneurship.
You two buy all the ingredients, make some signs or even build an elaborate lemonade stand, and set up for a few hours of fun, during which your child learns to pitch and sell his or her lemonade while practicing communicating with folks, providing customer service, gaining confidence, and, hopefully, earning a profit. Millions of kids do this every year. The dream of owning a business comes true!
Lemonade Day supports the establishment of lemonade stands by young children with the assistance of their family members in cities, towns, and communities of all types and sizes in the United States and Canada. By hosting a lemonade stand, children and their parents are actively participating in the small business movement that drives the North American economy forward in a positive way. See more in the impact study we developed in cooperation with Gallup®.
But what happens when the local police or health department shuts down your child’s lemonade stand for not securing the permits necessary to sell concessions? Current permitting regulations do not address the simple, short-term, and oftentimes spontaneous opportunity to empower kids to start a business. Did you know that only one state (Utah) has enacted a law prohibiting the requirement of permits for a lemonade stand? Young people with a desire to learn business skills and financial literacy should have unfettered access to set up their business, regardless of location, where they can apply their customer service skills, collaborate with businesses owners, and experience real-world challenges.
But, not to worry. Lemonade Day National and several advocates are working together to urge elected officials, community leaders, and regulatory agencies to relax current regulations that are directed at permanent businesses and allow for occasional youth-run (18 and under) lemonade stands to operate in designated public areas without the burden and costs of permit fees. The cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, and Washington, D.C. are just a few examples of many communities that have worked closely with Lemonade Day National to make the process of hosting lemonade stands easier, more enjoyable, and more profitable for young entrepreneurs.
Lemonade stand bills are also gaining traction in Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, and New Jersey, largely thanks to “lemonade stand mama” and Lemonade Day ambassador Jennifer Knowles. Jennifer quickly picked up the torch when her boys’ lemonade stand was shut down last summer. Since then, she has successfully lobbied the City of Denver to allow for stands, and now the Colorado legislators to change state law. Currently, Bill SB19-103 has unanimously passed in the Colorado Senate with the assistance of the bill’s author, State Senator Angela Williams, and the bi-partisan support of Senator Jack Tate and Representatives James Coleman and Terri Carver, and it is now in the House for consideration.
Matt Krause, Texas House Representative, has introduced HB 234, which also has bi-partisan support of other Texas state reps and senators who are Lemonade Day champions along with chambers of commerce leaders who are seeing the benefits of the Lemonade Day program in their communities. Texas legislators are following the lead of the Austin City Council that has already minimized the barriers for lemonade stands.
Minnesota is also proposing a bill that would stop the $50 permitting requirement for lemonade stands. Senator Roger Chamberlain is the sponsor.
I am so grateful for the support and partnership from all these advocates, and I want to encourage other cities and communities to inspire youth entrepreneurship and allow kids to make a difference in a positive, meaningful way by allowing them to demonstrate a commitment to bettering people, society, and the economy. Lemonade Day leaders want to motivate all cities, counties, and states across the nation to become part of this movement toward positive change by lessening burdens that youth entrepreneurs face.
As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions and questions. Please email me anytime at Steven@LemonadeDay.org.
For more information about Lemonade Day, please visit lemonadeday.org.