Dillard Business College mentors and inspires the next generation of business owners

Godwin C. Ukaa, Writer

Students from the Dillard College of Business Administration will be mentoring third to fifth graders from the community on April 24 in this year’s Lemonade Day event.

Lemonade Day is an annual program where children are taught how to develop, own, and run a business for a day. Each child is assigned a mentor, usually an MSU business student, who will help the child develop a business plan, reach out to sponsors, and run a lemonade stand on the day of the event.

Scott Manley, director of Lalani Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, said the goal is to teach children things that will help them in life.

“We teach them basic financial principles that will help them in life and how to set micro-goals,” Manley said. “[As for the profit] we encourage them to spend some, save some, and share some.”

The university gained recognition last month from the world’s largest business education network, AACSB International, for its involvement in community mentorship through Lemonade Day.

Ashley Kuoppamaki, a business alumna from the class of 2019, said her experience as a mentor was a memorable one.
“I intentionally took the class in spring to participate in Lemonade Day. Out of everything I did at MSU, that is something I will remember for the rest of my life,” Kuoppamaki said. “I wish I could do this every year.”

Students registered in the entrepreneurship class taught by Manley get the opportunity to serve as mentors during the spring semesters.

“I did not have a role model growing up, and when I heard about Lemonade Day, I said I want to be a part of that. I watched the kids get excited; they were so pumped. It was awesome to see their faces light up. And it made me realize some things may be small to me but big for someone else,” Kuoppamaki said.

Lemonade day helped her fulfill her passion for helping younger people.

“I realized that I could be a part of shaping young children’s minds, showing those younger than me how to take the initiative and innovate'” Kuoppamaki said.

In 2019, when Kuoppamaki participated, her mentee’s lemonade stand earned $1,000. Her advice for the participating children this year is to stay focused.

“Set a goal, make a plan, and follow-through; the sky is the limit,” Kuoppamaki said.

The children are encouraged to spend some, save some, and share some of the profit they make on Lemonade Day. To achieve this, Manley said the children would choose a non-profit organization to donate to and set up a savings account with Texoma Community Credit Union.

So as you drive around town on April 24, keep an eye out for the various lemonade stands across town. Purchase a glass of refreshing lemonade in support of future generations of entrepreneurs. You never know; you may be purchasing lemonade from the next Jeff Bezos.