Kickoff event set for inaugural Lemonade Day in Starkville

Lemonade Day participants in Dallas show off their signs at a past event (Courtesy photo)

Starkville will soon join a nationwide initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and community-building among today’s youth.

Lemonade Day, which is observed in 57 cities in 23 states and three countries, is a lesson-based program that will see local grade school students given the resources to start their own lemonade stand business.

The citywide event is set for Saturday, Aug. 18 and will be made possible through a collaboration of the Mississippi State College of Business, the MSU Entrepreneur Center, Castle Properties and Cadence Bank.

To promote the inaugural event, a kickoff celebration is planned for Saturday, June 30 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at GLO, located at 419 East Lampkin Street - across the street from Central Station Grill.

The goal is to get 100 student entrepreneurs to participate.

E-Center Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp told the Starkville Daily News it is the E-Center’s mission to keep local entrepreneurs in Starkville and they hope to apply that same goal to K-12 students with aspirations to enter the business sector.

“If (the students) walk away with more self esteem, then that’s huge, Rupp said. “Financial literacy is definitely something we can do.”

Rupp then praised the support of local developer Mark Castleberry, owner of Castle Properties.

“Mark Castleberry approached us at the E-Center and wanted us to do Lemonade Day,” Rupp said. “He has taken a keen interest in Starkville and he wants to help wants us to be partnered with him.”

Castleberry said he views it as important to offer the youth Starkville the opportunity to operate a business.

“Working with Cadence Bank and the MSU Entrepreneur Center to bring Lemonade Day to Starkville has been a great experience for me,” he said. “We are all looking forward to working with the children and will need support from the Starkville community to make this a success.”

The missing piece of the Lemonade Day puzzle, according to Rupp, was Cadence Bank.

“We needed somebody with a financial background once the kids get a micro loan at (Cadence Bank), so we think we have a really good team together,” Rupp said.

Each participant who registers for Lemonade Day receives a free backpack with an entrepreneur workbook.

The young entrepreneurs will also get access to an interactive online program that promotes the lessons of Lemonade Day - including setting goals, planning, working and achieving.

Rupp said they encourage their entrepreneurs at the E-Center to marry the concepts of doing good by helping people and making money.

“It’s not always evil capitalism, you can do good with that,” he said. “So we want to stress that, we want to build sell esteem, even if a kid only makes $10 or $20 and realizes he has been empowered to make his own way.”

Lemonade Day was founded in 2007 in Houston, Texas by Michael Holthouse.

The concept has since grown from 2,700 young participants in one city to 1 million children across the country.