Best Practices

KCSourceLink: Making Lemonade: Help Kids Take Their First Entrepreneurial Steps

Published Jun 04, 2013
Lemonade Stand
                                                                                      (Photo by stevendepolo)

Make your personal arguments, but nothing marks the official start of summer vacation better than that first Lemonade Stand pitched on the corner of Neighborhood, U.S.A.

Picture it: the homemade poster with its letters bunched into an ill-planned right margin, the sweetened fruit of summer, young kids and budding entrepreneurs manning their card tables of Red Solos and ice cold pitchers, gleefully hawking their (maybe homemade) product. It’s enough to get you salivating and searching our pockets for loose quarters.

That lemonade stand is synonymous with summer, but don’t dismiss just as a talisman against boredom. That lemonade stand is a rite of passage, marking our kids’ first, bold steps into entrepreneurship.   

And hopefully, not their last.

In fact, a 2012 survey from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a leading foundation promoting entrepreneurship, indicated that 73 percent of youth ages 8 to 21 have the ability and desire to successfully launch their own business.

Consider these inspiring entrepreneurial examples (cited from the Napa Valley Register) :

  • Sean Belnick was only 14 years old when he used $500 to launch Last year, the business reportedly generated more than $72 million in sales.
  • Ashley Quals was a 17-year-old Michigan entrepreneur when she made her first million by developing the website She started the website by borrowing $8 from her mother.
  • Scottish-born Fraser Doherty started a business in his grandmother’s kitchen. Today, hisSuper Jam supplies all major U.K. grocery stores. He was a 16-year-old when he hit the young entrepreneur millionaire mark.

Hunter Browning, Entrepreneur at Age 16

One of Kansas City’s own entrepreneurial prodigies, Hunter Browning started his first of many business ventures at the age of 16. He is the president of Fannect, the world’s first mobile competitive social network of sports fans and the author of The Young Entrepreneur, a book that guides other young entrepreneurs starting a new venture.

Let’s Raise Kids to Be Entrepreneurs

In this inspiring TED talk, Cameron Herold, serial entrepreneur, makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish – as kids and as adults.

“Entrepreneurs are people who have these ideas and passions and see these needs in the world and decide to stand up and do it, and we put everything on the line to make that stuff happen. If we could get kids to embrace entrepreneurship at a young age, we could change everything in the world…. ”

10 Steps to Teaching Your Kids to Become Entrepreneurs

From goal setting to learning how to recognize opportunities to financial literacy, here are Duane Spires’ ten steps to teaching your children to become budding entrepreneurs, including the skill that they don’t just not teach, but actually shame in school.

Entrepreneurship after Lemonade and Lawns

What do kids know about being entrepreneurs? Turns out their curiosity about the world around them, natural creativity, willingness to take risks, and unbridled enthusiasm add up to the characteristics of our greatest entrepreneurs. But after we close down our neighborhood lemonade stand, outgrow our babysitting empire, and shut down our lawn mowing business, we often lose our entrepreneurial instincts.

Youth entrepreneurship programs supported by the Kauffman Foundation are designed to keep the entrepreneurial flame alive in boys and girls, whose inventiveness and drive can actually teach us something about being entrepreneurs.

SBA’s Teen Website

The SBA has developed a Teen Website designed to introduce young entrepreneurs to the concept of small business ownership as a viable career choice. The site features the fundamentals of starting a small business; from brainstorming to evaluating the feasibility of your idea, developing the all-important business plan, learning from successful young entrepreneurs, making sound financial decisions and utilizing various entrepreneurial development services.  Find more resources for youth entrepreneurship on the SBA website.

How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids

As a parent, you inspire entrepreneurship by fostering the emotional skills your child will need, such as comfort with risk, effective problem solving and a positive attitude toward failure.

Here are five parenting tips to help you foster entrepreneurial qualities in your kids. And as a bonus, here are more articles on giving your kids the skills for the future, including teaching kids to code, self-publish, and more.

Online Businesses for Kids

Tired of squeezing lemons and mowing lawns? Here are some ideas and guidelines for helping your child start a business online.

Is Your Child’s Lemonade Stand against the Law?

It’s Debbie Downer time. Before they set up a lemonade stand or sell cookies to their neighborhood friends, be aware that such seemingly harmless entrepreneurial activities might be against local laws. The advice? Call your city officials (the city clerk’s office may be a good place to start) and ask if your stand is likely to run into any trouble.. Read on for more ideas on how to protect these entrepreneurial traditions.

Content contributed by Sarah Mote, KCSourceLink, Kansas City's resource network for entrepreneurs.