About Lemonade Alley
At its core, Lemonade Alley is just a lemonade stand contest. K-12 students build stands. They sell lemonade. But the “twist” is that they do it for charities of their choice. This makes Lemonade Alley an all-in-one innovation challenge, entrepreneurial contest and charitable giving program. For youth, it’s about empowerment and finding the hero within. For adults, it’s a chance to play like a kid again and strengthen family, professional and community relationships.
Over the years, Lemonade Alley has matured into a movement complete with rich traditions, including The Yellow Carpet Walk (judges & team introductions), Start Your Lemons (Start of “Sales”), B-Plan, Booth, Taste & Sales Pitch Judging, and Raising of the Umbrellas (a “Profit to Share!” shout-out to the world).
Lemonade Alley is about creating champions. Heroes. Smart students. Giving students. Great parents. Engaged teachers. Generous sponsors. And better communities for all.
Lemonade Alley began in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2011 where 21 world leaders, including U.S. President Barrack Obama, convened for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. The American economy was mired in the Great Recession. At the same time, the demand for business and entrepreneurial programs in schools was beginning to trend. So we set about “killing two birds with one stone” by creating Lemonade Alley. Students would learn that business is fun, and we’d show the world how to save the economy through entrepreneurship. Since the contest is a financial challenge, we decided to have all proceeds donated to charities chosen by the students.
The inaugural event was planned in the two months leading up to APEC and held on ‘Iolani School’s baseball field. Prior to the event, ‘Iolani administrators liked the idea of Lemonade Alley but doubted it could be organized in time. Our pitch was that the event would be small, with 5-10 lemonade stands in the middle of the outfield as a publicity stunt for visiting APEC press. In the end, 69 teams applied for the challenge. But due to space limitations, entries were paired down to 32 finalist teams that sold thousands of dollars of lemonade for charity.
Lemonade Alley is a testament to the power of a good idea and a ton of elbow grease. From the very start, corporate sponsors, judges, mentors and volunteers showed up to make a truly unique and picturesque event.
In succeeding years, Lemonade Alley has become more clearly defined as an entrepreneurship-meets-philanthropy challenge. This unique position was captured in our 2013 slogan, “Profit to Share,” which became our mantra. Our message is that the world is bountiful enough for innovators to support themselves while giving back to their communities.
On behalf of the entire Lemon Crew and BizGym Foundation, thanks for helping empower the idea of Profit to Share!
Love, Lemons & Aloha,
Steve Sue, Chief Lemon Head