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Grade 2 student wins Lemonade Day award

The weather was perfect for Chestermere’s third annual Lemonade Day June 9, when 171 young participants finally had the opportunity to open their own lemonade stands – and watch the business plans they’d worked on for the last six weeks pay off.
Small business
Grade 2 student Ayana Kassam’s lemonade stand, Lemon Squeeeezy, achieved a score of 94.5 out of 100 in Chestermere’s third annual Lemonade Day June 9 – earning her the title of Youth Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018.

The weather was perfect for Chestermere’s third annual Lemonade Day June 9, when 171 young participants finally had the opportunity to open their own lemonade stands – and watch the business plans they’d worked on for the last six weeks pay off. Of those many hard-working kids, eight-year-old Ayana Kassam was named Chestermere’s Youth Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018, with a total score of 94.5 out of 100 for her lemonade stand – Lemon Squeeeezy. “I feel awesome and surprised,” said Kassam, a Grade 2 student at Prairie Waters Elementary. “This is my second year, and I really like it.” According to her mother, Nisha Kassam, the program offers a fun opportunity for kids to pick up a variety of skills that they may not learn in a classroom setting – skills which she said can be transferable to any potential future career. “You really don’t know which direction your children will go, so whatever you can do to expose them to new skills would be beneficial,” she said. “That first year, (Kassam) didn’t realize how much work would be put into it.” Participants in the program spend more than a month attending weekly mentorship sessions in the lead-up to Lemonade Day, according to Nisha – completing a workbook she said contained an impressive amount of information. “I was blown away when I saw it,” she said. “It covers how to develop a business plan, thinking about what your competitors are going to do and what’s going to be your edge. Even little things, like with their own money, they have to purchase a business license and figure out where they are going to set up.” According to Nisha, Kassam knew immediately that setting up shop in front of the family’s home would be bad for business. The family lives on a cul-de-sac, she said, and Kassam knew she would sell more lemonade if she positioned herself in a high-traffic area. “She talked to the manager at Dollarama, because she said it’s always so busy there,” Nisha said. “She even negotiated terms that, in the case of bad weather, she could move inside. And she paid rent – just like any business owner, you have to go through all the same steps.” But according to Kassam, what really made her business stand out was the product. To win the competition, she said, “You have to have the best lemonade.” In addition to regular lemonade sold for $1 per cup, Lemon Squeeeezy offered a premium beverage for those looking for a higher-end lemonade experience – Nectarberry lemonade. While Kassam said the official recipe is a trade secret, the drink includes strawberries and mint-infused nectarine, and is topped off with a splash of sparkling water. “It was really refreshing, especially on a hot day,” Nisha said. “We had two big four-gallon dispensers – one for the regular lemonade, and one for the Nectarberry. Of those eight gallons, we had about one litre left. She did really well.” Lemon Squeeeezy didn’t just sell lemonade – with the help of investors, Kassam provided a range of other products, including chips, cookies and homemade cake pops. At the end of the day, after paying back the money she borrowed to get her business established, Kassam took home a profit of $346. “I think one of the reasons she got this award is for exceeding her profit goals – what she targeted versus what she actually made – but she also had the largest percentage of donated funds, which demonstrated selflessness,” Nisha said. The Lemonade Day program encourages participants to look at their finances with three things in mind – money to save, money to spend and money to share. Each participant can decide for themselves what percentage of their profit will be dedicated to each category, and Kassam elected to donate 35 per cent of her earnings to her favourite charity – the World Partnership Walk. “This is a charity that has been really near and dear to her heart – I got her involved right when she was a baby, and every year, we kept going,” Nisha said. “She always goes door-to-door and collects money – this past June, she raised $12,000 – but it’s always someone else’s money. This gives her the chance to donate money she earned all by herself.” Kassam’s business, Lemon Squeeeezy, will now be pitted against winning lemonade stands from participating municipalities across North America in a competition for the grand prize – a trip for four to an amusement theme park. “It’s been so exciting, we didn’t expect all of this,” Nisha said. “We were just learning and having fun doing it, but it’s really turned into so much more.”

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