In late September, Lemonade Day announced its National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year and runners-up at its ninth annual city directors conference held in Houston. Fifth-grader Saanvi Vinod, who participates in the Lemonade Day Louisville program, was honored at the conference as this year's winner.
This was the second year Saanvi participated in the program with her A Lemon A Day stand. She considered everything she learned last year to develop her business plan and marketing strategy.
Saanvi chose St. Jude Children Research Hospital’s skin cancer division to donate some of her profits because the division provides free treatment to children. Saanvi explained, “I wanted to make a good profit to help me support this cause. And Lemonade Day helped me set goals and achieve them for my business.”
Saanvi enlisted her mom as her mentor and her dad as her initial investor. With her mom’s help, she secured an appointment with a local mall manager to pitch her lemonade stand business. The mall helped her promote her stand in their social media posts and newsletter, and Saanvi agreed to pay a small leasing fee as part of her desire to improve her location and grow her business.
To secure a loan for the leasing fee, Saanvi presented her business plan to bank lenders and negotiated the amount, interest rate, and loan payment terms. According to Lauren Coulter, Lemonade Day Louisville City Director, the lenders were “floored by how prepared Saanvi was — more so than most adults who come in for a loan.”
With a new location and investors secured, Saanvi developed her menu. She decided to sell healthy lemonade options including watermelon mint lemonade, mango spritzer, and turmeric honey lemonade. With a slogan of “drink, enjoy, support, repeat,” Saanvi deployed emails, phone calls, Facebook pages, and her school’s newsletter to spread the word about her stand.
“It’s very rare to encounter a child with so much eloquence, poise, and preparedness as Saanvi who understood the process quickly and put the lessons to use immediately,” said Coulter. “We all know that we should love what we do and give back to our community. Saanvi’s passion for helping sick children is truly beautiful to watch. St. Jude is blessed to have Saanvi as her ‘share some’ recipient.”
When Saanvi entered the contest, she wrote, "I am extremely happy about the success of 2019's Lemonade Day sales and profit. Very glad about having the profits to spend, save and SHARE. Me and my brother are discussing if we can continue our lemonade stands throughout summer in farmers markets and other locations. Also, as an entrepreneur, I am thinking about how to develop leadership skills in every project I do."