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Business leaders kick-start Lemonade Day

Advocate staff report

There's always money in lemonade stands. That's among the lessons for the more than 20,000 young entrepreneurs who are expected to participate in the sixth annual Lemonade Day Louisiana, a free statewide initiative to introduce children to entrepreneurship by running their own small business: a lemonade stand.

Set for April 30, Lemonade Day Louisiana participants are given a free backpack with detailed workbooks that include marketing tips and advice for getting started.

The aim is to teach the budding capitalists to spend a little, save a little and share a little by encouraging them to donate some of their earnings to charity. After covering costs, they're encouraged to open a savings account.

On Wednesday, local business leaders, including John Georges, CEO of Georges Enterprises and the owner of The Advocate, kicked off Lemonade Day 2016 in Louisiana, an event slated to take place in nearly two-dozen states.

Georges and Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers in Baton Rouge, introduced the national program to Louisiana in 2010.

Joining Georges at Wednesday's New Orleans kickoff event at the Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans offices was Louisiana shipbuilding magnate Donald ''Boysie'' Bollinger; New Orleans Saints Hall of Famer Tyrone Hughes; and Ashton Ryan Jr., president and CEO of First NBC Bank. Cheerleaders from the Saints and Pelicans also were on hand, as well as Sir Saint and his friend Gumbo the Dog.

''When John brought this to Louisiana, I thought this was one of the most fantastic things that we could do for our future because we're teaching children how to be entrepreneurs,'' Bollinger said. Bollinger described the program's focus as being on ''the three major components that are necessary, I think, to be a good, respected entrepreneur.''

Having support from business leaders like Bollinger is ''a tribute to how much the business community cares about the entire community,'' Georges said. ''To see this all come together here today is another example of how great of a community we live in.''

Hughes, the former St. Augustine High School star, said Lemonade Day will have a lasting impact on its participants because ''they learn to give back to the community by donating back some of their proceeds.''

''That's one of the biggest things,'' he said, ''because we have to take care of ourselves, and we have to take care of each other.''

A separate Baton Rouge kickoff is slated for Thursday. Online registration is underway. To sign up or learn more, visit

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