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Lemonade Day a sweet lesson in business for local children

'It's such a great idea to get young entrepreneurs thinking about starting their own businesses and have it on one day where the community can support it'

Ten lemonade stands run by kids popped up in North Bay Saturday in an effort to teach real-life business skills to children eager to learn.

Lemonade Day is a fun, experiential program that teaches youth how to start, own, and operate their very own business - a lemonade stand. Each year, in participating cities, youth have the opportunity to experience entrepreneurship by setting up their business during their city's community-wide Lemonade Day. 

North Bay held the first one in Ontario a couple of years back.

Bobby Ray was out early with his son and daughter, determined to support all the stands. He volunteers with the local Chamber of Commerce on the Young Professionals Committee.

"It's such a great idea to get young entrepreneurs thinking about starting their own businesses and have it on one day where the community can support it," Ray told BayToday while waiting in line to buy a drink and cookie.

'My guys are a little too young to be running their own stand but what we do is get in the car and drive around town all day supporting all the stands. We'll see them all."

His first stop was a stand located on Birch St. in the City's south end run by, 10-year-old Kaycee Bilodeau and her seven-year-old sister Ella.

They were busy serving friends and neighbours with their own lemonade recipe, along will an assortment of homemade baked treats.

"Everything is homemade," Kaycee explained in between serving appreciative customers. "We did the cookies and lemonade and the ice cubes."

She was excited to set up her stand, as this was her second year in business, and she's learned an important lesson.

"Jobs are kind of hard sometimes and you have to give some of the money to the other people who helped." She says she's looking forward to next year's effort.

Her mother Ashley agrees that the idea has merit for her young business hopefuls.

"They have to think about supplies...cups, straws, the lemons themselves, making it from scratch and dedicating the right amount of time to make sure they are prepped for the day by getting up early, setting up, table cloths and all that. My kids took out a 'Mummy line of credit' to pay for all the supplies. At the end of the day, they pay me back."

The kid's Nana chipped in by supplying home-made butter tarts.

"She priced out what each ingredient cost and her time spent to make her tarts, so they end up paying her back."

Bilodeau admits that those Nana and Mummy costs typically end up back in the hands of the kids as an added incentive.

"We donate them back, but she learns there are costs to things, it's not just straight profit  She also learns that at a young age how you can successfully operate and create a business and how it all works, so I think it's a great initiative."

The kids decided to donate a portion of their profit to the Humane Society.

This year's event was organized by Steven Beaupre, an employee of Head Start in Business, a company that does presentations to kids to teach them how to become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses.

"We want to give them the business bug and help get them started in becoming an entrepreneur, " he explained. 

He calls this year's local effort "an absolute success."

"I got a chance to visit all the stands Saturday and it was a lot of fun with a lot of great lemonade. All the kids had a great time with a great turnout. The big thing is these kids work very hard so it's a very satisfying and proud feeling to see all their hard work, and for them to benefit from the experience."