Seven West Roxbury kids turned an exercise in entrepreneurship into a chance to give back, raising money on Lemonade Day Boston for the Lieutenant Walsh – Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund.
After four weeks of planning, the Lemonade 4 Luv team is gearing up for Lemonade Day Boston, a May 4 event that aims to inspire budding entrepreneurs by teaching them to run lemonade stands. The Houston-born event has spread to 100 cities in the US and Canada, thanks in part to Babson College, which brought the event to Boston in 2011.
“The program takes the kids from concept to marketing to actual execution,’’ mentor Cindy Ho said. “What better way to teach them than an actual lemonade stand?’’
Ho is a Babson alumna herself, having earned her MBA there. Back in March, she received an email about Lemonade Day from the college, and decided to become a mentor.
“It was a perfect opportunity to teach my boys and their friends about entrepreneurship,’’ Ho said, “but in a fun way.’’
Ho mentored the Lemonade 4 Luv team, which consists of her sons Ryan and Kyle, along with Bailey and Evan Chan, Benjamin and Luke Young, and James Tobin.
“They have actually been friends since kindergarten,’’ Ho said. “They knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which made it easier to allocate roles.’’
Ho said it was the boy’s idea to donate half of their proceeds to the Lieutenant Walsh – Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund.
“When we had our first meeting, it was the same time the tragedy hit,’’ Ho said. “They decided they wanted to give back to the community, and this fund seemed to be a perfect way to do that.’’
The group also shot down the idea of a tip jar, opting to put out a donation jar instead. All collected donations will go to the memorial fund.
So far, the community has backed Lemonade 4 Luv. Ho said city councilor Matt O’Malley has promised to stop by, and school officials have shown their approval.
“Our schools were so supportive of the event,’’ Ho said. “One of the schools even sent flyers home to the entire school. The fact that they’re giving back to the community was a key factor. It was also a learning opportunity, something other kids could learn from as well.’’
While lemonade stands remain a simple and youthful pursuit to many, these kids mean business. In other words, this ain’t your parents’ lemonade stand, especially when it came to choosing roles within the operation.
“It’s not just about sitting next to your friend and doing it,’’ Ho said. “It’s about who would do it best.’’
The team had to consider factors like location and pricing. The Lemonade 4 Luv stand has been entirely self-funded.
“It’s one hundred percent their own money,’’ Ho said. “They didn’t use “loans’’ from their parents.’’
Learning to manage that money effectively was “eye-opening’’ for the boys, Ho said.
“At the first meeting they were coming up with these outrageous ideas,’’ Ho said. “I had to pull them back a little.’’
On top of all that, the boys had to file for a health permit to serve their lemonade. The Walsh administration has stated that it won’t shut down kids’ unlicensed lemonade stands except in cases where they will serve at large events.
In preparation for Lemonade Day, participants learn about pricing, health codes, and competition. But Ho hopes her team will glean a little bit more from the experience.
“I really hope they learn the value of entrepreneurship, as well as working together with a group,’’ Ho said. “That’s such a critical value of life going into the workforce.’’
“As well as having fun,’’ Ho added.
To find out where to grab a cup of Lemonade from the Lemonade 4 Luv crew, click here.