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Tiny tycoons learn entrepreneurial skills at JSU for Lemonade Day

If the cute little kid with the lemonade stand seems particularly business savvy, it could be for a reason. That tiny tycoon just might be a graduate of Lemonade Day training now under way at Jackson State University.

Students and Babson College faculty lay out plans for lemonade stand dynamics at Lemonade Day training at Jackson State University, Jan. 8, 2015. (Photo by Anissa Hidouk, JSU)

Students and Babson College faculty lay out plans for lemonade stand dynamics at Lemonade Day training at Jackson State University, Jan. 8, 2015. (Photo by Anissa Hidouk, JSU)

This week, kids from across Jackson have been taking training at the Student Center in preparation for national Lemonade Day, May 2.

Jackson is Mississippi’s flagship program. However, children from all over Mississippi have participated in Lemonade Day, according to Bria R.Griffith, director of Lemonade Day Greater Jackson.

“It’s an entrepreneurship program. However, more than that, it’s a life skills program that teaches kids how to take responsibility for their actions and control of their lives,” she said.

This is no nickel-and-dime operation. The students, mostly from Blackburn Middle School and other after school programs in Jackson, are learning: profits, revenue, expenses, pricing, customer service, partners and teamwork, and other skills.

These keys to business — whatever the size or product — are just taught within the framework of a lemonade stand, Griffith said.

Nor are their numbers few. Over the past three years there are about 3,000 kids that have registered to participate in the Lemonade Day program., Griffith said. Since 2007, when Lemonade Day began in Houston, TX, there have been hundreds of thousands of kids that have registered to participate nationwide with groups extending as far as Alaska and Canada.

The training that started Monday is being taught by more than 50 faculty and students from Babson College in Boston, Mass., and ends Saturday with the kids presenting their skills to family and friends.

Jackson State is a community partner in Lemonade Day and “has been very gracious to provide us space, lunches …” as well as willing customers, Griffith said.

A mock-up of a lemonade stand at Lemonade Day training at Jackson State University, Jan. 8, 2015. (Photo by Anissa Hidouk, JSU)

A mock-up of a lemonade stand at Lemonade Day training at Jackson State University, Jan. 8, 2015. (Photo by Anissa Hidouk, JSU)

Last year, Lemonade Day had three stands on the JSU campus and the kids made a killing selling lemonade, since it happened to coincide with the well-attended Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference.

But lest anyone fear that the kids’ bottom lines have a year-over-year downturn in profit, this year Lemonade Day will also fall on a fortuitous date: Spring 2015 Commencement.

On that day, there should be even more potential customers — a couple of thousand students, family and friends who in addition to buying a cold drink just might have something to learn from these tiny tycoons.

For more information on Lemonade Day and its entrepreneurship program, see: Jackson.LemonadeDay.org