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Lemonade Alley, a business competition for young people

Participants from kindergarten through 12th grade write business plans, build booths, market their companies and sell drinks

Photo: Courtesy Lemonade Alley (Steve Sue, Joy Yamasaki)

This summer, hundreds of children in Honolulu and seven mainland cities will compete to create the best lemonade stand. But don’t expect watered-down concoctions and makeshift tables: These kids mean business.

The contest, Lemonade Alley, requires participants from kindergarten through 12th grade to write business plans, design and construct booths, market their companies via social media and, finally, sell their beverages and treats at a one-day competition. Net profits go to charities of their choice.

Ashley Castaneda, a 2011 finalist, has re-entered her company, Lemelicious, and is determined to win this year. The 10th grader from Waipahu High School says she has a great team, adding, “Anything is possible if you have enthusiastic employees who strive to reach company goals.”

On their menu are sweet pastries, plate lunches and a frozen drink called the Lemelicious Slushie. Plate lunches gave their company an edge over last year’s competitors. “We developed a fan base last year and continue to improve the quality of our products,” she adds. [Editor's Note: Due to scheduling conflicts, the Lemelicious team pulled out of the 2012 contest after this story went to press.]

Hawaii’s contest will be held July 8 at Ala Moana Beach Park. Other events are scheduled for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Cloud, Minn., Wilmington, Del., and New York City.

Photo: Courtesy Lemonade Alley
(Steve Sue, Joy Yamasaki)

Winners from each city will receive all-expense-paid trips to Camp BizGym, an Oahu summer camp for young entrepreneurs. Hawaii’s winners will also receive $1,000.  

Steve Sue, founder of Lemonade Alley, notes Hawaii is an ideal place to learn cross-cultural business practices. “It’s important that the focus remains here in Hawaii, so that we can own the space of being the epicenter of Pac Rim entrepreneurship,” says Sue, who also founded BizGym, an online application for business planning and financial forecasting. 

The nonprofit BizGym Foundation was launched this year to serve the contest, the summer camp and a new scholarship program, BizGym Missions, which aims to send Hawaii students to foreign countries to work with socially conscious nonprofits.

“Our goal is to convert students into mentors and volunteers with a ‘pay-it-forward’ and planet-sustainable attitude,” he says.

How you can help

  • Patronize lemonade booths on July 8;
  • Volunteer to help behind the scenes;
  • Donate cash;
  • Participate in Camp BizGym, a business camp for children, scheduled for Aug. 14-19.

Go to www.lemonadealley.com to offer support.

Lemonade Alley Contest

Date: Sunday, July 8
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: Magic Island, Ala Moana Beach Park
Entertainment: Local children’s bands
More information: www.lemonadealley.com

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