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Entrepreneurship program revolutionizes traditional lemonade stand

By , Reporter  |  Tuesday, May 1, 2012 5:48 PM

Entrepreneurship classes at St. Thomas require business sense, but creativity is also a key factor.

The 200-level entrepreneurship program revolutionized the traditional lemonade stand this semester by assigning students to formulate their own business models while incorporating the childhood money-maker.

Entrepreneurship professors Jay Ebben and Alec Johnson heard of the idea at other schools and decided to integrate it into the St. Thomas program.

“It’s going better than I anticipated,” Ebben said. “I’m very impressed with what they’ve done, and there are several creative ideas. This will definitely open up many internship opportunities.”

Here are examples of three business models students are working on this semester:

Late Night Lemonade

Need an energy boost for that all-nighter? Could use a kick start for your 8 a.m. class? Junior Angie Liao, freshman Paige Pipal and sophomore Caroline Regan said they have the solution.

Freshman Paige Pipal stops students around campus, such as freshman Nick Willmarth, to pitch her product Late Night Lemonade. Pipal said that simply stopping students and advertising on Facebook and Twitter have been the most effective. (Anastasia Straley/TommieMedia)

Freshman Paige Pipal stops students around campus, such as freshman Nick Willmarth, to pitch her product Late Night Lemonade. Pipal said stopping students and advertising on Facebook and Twitter have been the most effective. (Anastasia Straley/TommieMedia)

The trio founded Late Night Lemonade, a lemonade-flavored energy drink business that hand delivers the jolt 24 hours a day. Students within a six block radius of St. Thomas are able to text or tweet an address to the company and a representative will arrive with Late Night’s original formula.

“We haven’t had many issues,” Pipal said. “It’s simple, and it tastes a lot better than other energy drinks.”

Regan said the business now covers a six block radius from campus, but the group would consider expanding to other ACTC schools if the project continues to go well.

Late Night Lemonade is available for $1 by tweeting to @l8nitelemonade or texting (612) 570-0247.

Lemon Kidz

Freshmen Angie Hasek and Kara Gamelin and sophomore Peter Burke added a second nostalgic aspect to their business model: wagons.

Using local wood shops and hometown connections, the group designed a cover that fits any standard sized wagon. The topper has a table with cupholders and a chalkboard, and the group said that they hope children will use it as a creative outlet.

Gamelin said that the wagon topper is intended to be a starter kit for kids.

“We thought about what’s the biggest issue with a lemonade stand, and we think it’s that it isn’t portable,” Gamelin said.

The group debuted their prototype Monday, April 23, on its website. Within 10 hours of its launch, the site had more than 100 unique visitors.

Find the wagon topper for $149.99 at lemonkidz.com.

Lemonaid

Are you an “Entreprenerd?” Lemonaid will sell you a T-shirt to show your pride while funding other start-up companies.

Sophomores Austin Nash and Matt Baloun and junior Brandon Kohler set up their T-shirt business, Lemonaid, so that $10 from every purchase supports entrepreneurs worldwide. Lemonaid is supported by Akosha, an organization that helps promote social change through entrepreneurial ventures.

“We’ve been able to raise more, and I think that we’ll be able to invest in others more,” Nash said. “We’ve funded one person already, and we’re getting ready to fund three or four more.”

Nash said that the Minneapolis-based company HypeSpark has been a great instrument for finding other entrepreneurs.

“In terms of support, it’s been just great. We have amazing people behind us, and I think that’s what is going to keep us going,” Nash said.

Shirts are available at lemonaid.mn for $20.

The final group presentations will be on Thursday, May 10.

Anastasia Straley can be reached at stra0669@stthomas.edu.

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