Young entrepreneurs are an important part of the small business community in the U.S. With more youth engaging in entrepreneurship each year, child-owned businesses are a great barometer of the small business sector in America. The youth of today will define the next 100 years of the American and on a global economy, worldwide business sector. Be it large corporate giants or small family owned and operated businesses that defy the odds, young people will lead the way. Either way, preparing our youth for this journey will be key in them fully catching and embracing the entrepreneurial spirit.
How does a child prepare for the business world, if they are not taken seriously in the arena of business ownership? This is where community can play a significant role.
As with any business, people trust who they know or at least feel like they know. The rise in social media and peer review websites certainly reflects this trend. But the pattern of embracing word-of-mouth and smaller, familiar offerings is actually a huge benefit to the youth entrepreneur.
For young people to launch their ventures in the safety and welcoming arms of their friends and neighbors can be the difference between the long-term success or failure of a youth owned business. The preparation that is so desperately needed for youth to experience the triumphs and pitfalls of small business that have made our country great for hundreds of years can be found in one’s local community. In the example of a Lemonade Day stand, selling their first cup of lemonade to their local mail carrier and receiving honest constructive and encouraging feedback, is a softer launch into the harsh world of business than the simple numbers-driven results that often characterize a business launched later in life.
There is a saying that everyone in the community has a job on Lemonade Day: whether sponsoring, mentoring, volunteering, helping sell or buy lemonade are just some of the important tasks at hand. And as they say — teamwork makes the dream work. Youth entrepreneurs dream big, from wherever they are. Communities help make those dreams a reality, which is even more critical in their formative years.
When people in a community get out to support local businesses, whether by buying lemonade from a child or intentionally supporting the mom-and-pop shops, it teaches a child more about what it means to live in community.
At Lemonade Day, one of the core principles is to ‘share a little’ by giving back to a local charity of one’s choice, as a demonstration of thanks to the community that supported the small business and as a way for a child to see they can make a difference with their own money. Giving back to your region defines the true sense of community, and a child business owner is never too young to learn this lesson.
Defining community by supporting local businesses or giving back to your local business community leads to definite success in business. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to raise a child entrepreneur.
Lemonade Day is a 14-step process that walks youth from a dream to a business plan, while teaching them the principles to start a successful company of any size. Learn more at www.LemonadeDay.org
— By Julie Eberly, Lemonade Day