Spreading the Sweet Taste of Entrepreneurship With Lemonade Day
Every year, Cadence Bank partners with Lemonade Day to give kids the firsthand experience of running a business.
What do you need to run a lemonade stand? Water, sugar, lemons and cups are a given—but what about a business plan?
Lemonade Day gives elementary and middle school students a chance to learn how to run their own business—a lemonade stand. Ever since its launch in 2007, this unique program has been helping children acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful entrepreneurs.
Cadence Bank is proud to sponsor Lemonade Day’s Entrepreneur of the Year Contest in several markets across the Southern United States, including Tuscaloosa, Ala., Houston, Texas, Mississippi's Golden Triangle, Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta, Ga.
“The entrepreneurial spirit of Lemonade Day really ties in with who we are as an organization,” says Cadence Bank Executive Vice Chairman Paul Murphy.
Allowing kids to see themselves as leaders
Lemonade Day empowers the next generation of business leaders to set goals and work hard to achieve them. Through their experience running a lemonade stand, kids learn valuable life skills such as budgeting, time management, marketing and decision making.
Lemonade Day delivers an entrepreneurial and experiential program in 90+ licensed communities throughout North America. Since 2007, nearly 1.5 million kids have taken part. After kids finish participating in the Lemonade Day experience, they send their business results over to the national organization.
Representatives from Cadence Bank get to review the final results from Entrepreneur of the Year Contest participants in the cities Cadence Bank sponsors, working with Lemonade Day officials to help determine a winner. The winners of local Entrepreneur of the Year Contests then advance to a national contest.
“It’s been great to see the different marketing strategies kids have come up with over the years,” says Murphy.
Sometimes kids will sell multiple flavors of lemonade, do pre-sales of lemonade before the event begins or sell other products along with their lemonade. Some teams even make deals with sponsors. For example, a local business might offer them $200 for displaying their logo on the lemonade stand, and the team agrees to pay back the loan with the profits they make.
“With the level of creativity you see during the event, it’s not a stretch to expect many of these young people to be the entrepreneurs and community leaders of tomorrow,” says Murphy.
In addition to getting kids excited about entrepreneurship, Lemonade Day is about unlocking youth talents, learning to work with a group, boosting self-confidence and developing a positive view of the future.
Cadence Bank’s role in Lemonade Day
Lemonade Day wouldn’t be possible without the help of sponsors from across the United States. Paul Murphy learned about Lemonade Day from its founder Michael Holthouse and was involved in the program for years before Cadence Bank officially started its engagement with the organization in 2016.
“I got involved with Lemonade Day in the early days, and it’s truly been remarkable to see how the organization has grown over the years,” says Murphy.
Cadence Bank’s partnership with Lemonade Day began in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Since 2016, this partnership has expanded to include Houston, Texas, Mississippi’s Golden Triangle, Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta, Ga. In 2021 alone, Cadence Bank’s sponsorship impacted over 1,000 kids across five states—even with COVID restrictions in place.
Through the Lemonade Day National organization, Cadence Bank partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and local schools to provide mentorship for the program.
While the Lemonade Day program is open to both individuals and teams, Cadence Bank teammates work with groups of kids at the partner organizations. “Teams are so important in every aspect of what we do from a banking standpoint,” says Murphy. “We all work together to reach the ultimate goal, and that’s exactly what the kids are doing during the program.”
How Lemonade Day mentors guide kids toward success
Hundreds of Cadence Bank teammates have dedicated their time, talents and passion to the Lemonade Day program over the years. These volunteers serve as Lemonade Day mentors for local youth organizations or schools.
Many of the mentors in Houston come from Cadence Bank’s credit analyst training program. Both full-time teammates and summer interns are encouraged to get involved each year. “Our bankers really enjoy being a part of it. They’ve wholeheartedly embraced Lemonade Day,” says Murphy.
Leading up to the Lemonade Day event, mentors work with groups of children to create their lemonade stand businesses. Cadence Bank teammates take the Lemonade Day curriculum and adopt it as their own, coming up with creative ways to teach the kids.
Several important aspects of entrepreneurship are covered in the curriculum, including:
- Setting a goal: Mentors help youth set target goals for their lemonade stand. In addition to setting financial goals, mentors help kids identify key skills they hope to gain from the experience.
- Making a plan: During this stage, kids begin thinking about the different choices they need to make for their business. What types of products will they sell? Where are they going to set up their lemonade stand? How much money will be needed for supplies? How will they market their business to the community?
- Following through on the plan: After the plan is made, it needs to be put into action. Mentors make sure kids are prepared to purchase supplies, set up their stand and make lemonade.
- Measuring success: After the kids are done working their lemonade stand, mentors help them calculate their profits, reflect on their experience and plan for the future.
Another aspect of being a Lemonade Day mentor is helping kids think about how they would like to use the money they earn from their lemonade stand. While most teams choose to spend a portion of the money on something fun, like a pizza party or a field trip, many teams decide to save a portion of the funds for next year’s Lemonade Day event. Others decide to donate the money to charity or give it back to their youth organization or school.
Thirsty for more?
“As our founder Michael Holthouse often says, ‘Attributes of a successful entrepreneur correlate to those of being a successful, thriving human being,’” said Nicole Mason, chief executive officer of the Lemonade Day National organization. “Lemonade Day youth are empowered through a unique entrepreneurial and experiential program infused with life skills, character development, financial and business literacy, career exploration, and mentorship. They develop a growth mindset and gain the foundational skills to succeed in life and achieve their dreams! We are grateful that Cadence Bank continues to support our mission to ignite a passion for learning and entrepreneurship in more of our youth.”
Murphy says that one of the best parts of partnering with Lemonade Day is seeing how the kids’ plans all come together. “At the end of the day, the kids are so thankful for every single sale and are already planning ahead for how they can make their lemonade stand even better next year.”
As the Lemonade Day program grows, so does the need for volunteers, mentors, partners and sponsors. Visit the Lemonade Day website to explore the ways you can get involved in your community’s events.
To learn more about how Cadence Bank is giving back to its communities, visit our Stories page.
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.