Catching up with….
Lemonade Day creator helps kids run their own business
Michael Holthouse, founder of Prepared 4 Life, wants children to be ready for the real world. More importantly, the successful entrepreneur wants them to learn crucial life lessons themselves. He believes his innovative Lemonade Day concept does just that for thousands of kids across the U.S., especially inner-city children. (Mobile Search engine — http://chacha.com)
Q. What is Lemonade Day?
A. It’s a fun, communitywide program that teaches kids how to start, own, and operate their very own lemonade business. It’s a month-long activity where a caring adult is paired with a child, and together they go through a step-by-step process that exposes them to every element of starting any business. That effort culminates on a single day — this year on May 2 in Houston [and 13 other locations] — where the entire community focuses on their kids.
Q. What was the impetus for the event?
A. Four years ago I did a lemonade stand with my then 10-year-old daughter, Lissa, and her best friend. It was the first time she experientially learned how America works. We sat down at the end of the day, with a big tablet and a crayon, and did a balance sheet. It showed her exactly how she fared. It was awesome.
Q. What’s the most effective aspect of the event?
A. Out of the hundreds of thousands of things you did as a kid, you remember that lemonade stand. It was a milestone, a life-changing moment where you figured out, “Oh, so this is how it works.” It has to be experiential. You can sit a person in the classroom for 20 years and lecture them about business and they’ll never get it like they will serving up a glass of lemonade.
Q. What’s been the biggest surprise?
A. How easily people understand it and get on board with it. I’ve never heard a single person say Lemonade Day is a bad idea.
Q. What’s been your greatest success?
A. When they’ve gone from setting goals to having a fistful of cash, we ask the kids to do three things: spend a little, save a little, and share a little. In Houston alone last year, we did 27,000 lemonade stands. Those kids sold over 2 million glasses of lemonade, at an average price of $1.14. They gave back over $500,000 to the community. It was extraordinary.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. By 2013, we want to be in 100 U.S. cities and do a million lemonade stands in a single day — we’ll enable millions of kids to be successful, happy, contributing human beings. — Brion O’Connor