Monday, 19 October 2015

When the world gives you lemons, start a lemonade-stand day

In America, government agents have been arresting children for running lemonade standseven celebrity, “the one force that could plausibly be strong enough to overpower America’s control-freak culture—gets squeezed like an overripe eureka in a gorilla cage.”

While in Australia, government agents have announced they want to encourage an annual “lemonade stand day” to encourage entrepreneurial children.

THE humble, after-school lemonade stand could foster the next generation of Australian entrepreneurs.
    THAT is the winning idea from the government's weekend "hackathon", which brought together more than 150 people on Saturday from the tech, business and government fields to workshop future innovation policy.
    The simple pitch was offered up by some of the country's brightest minds: Start a national Lemonade Day to create "DICE" kids - digital, innovative, creative and entrepreneurial children. Future footpath proprietors.
    At a projected cost of $2 a head, an estimated 180,000 primary school-aged children across the country could experience running their own business through a program supported by government and backed by the corporate sector…
    The lemonade stand concept drew rave responses from the dozens of investors and business leaders in the room as well as the government judging panel.
    Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, who dreamt up the idea of a roomful of geeks cranking out policy shortly after coming into the role in September, said changing culture was the hardest challenge to crack for governments.
    "I think what we saw was a really practical idea put forward, something that doesn't require the heavy hand of government to make it a reality," Mr Roy told AAP.
    "I have no doubt that in the future that the national lemonade stand day will be a big success."
    The 10 key policy ideas for improving the country's innovation ecosystem raised at the one-day hackathon ranged from bringing in capital gains tax exemptions for start-up investors to setting up "landing pads" for Australian innovators heading overseas to capital hotspots like San Francisco and Beijing.
    The hackathon was Mr Roy's first major initiative to help drive the government's future innovation agenda, expected before the end of the year.

Put aside the irony of a “Minister of Innovation,” or of bureaucrats promoting entrepreneurship—or of lemonade stands becoming a $2-a-head government programme, and the contrast between old-New World and newer New-World couldn’t be starker.

NB: Yes, to be fair, oldster American entrepreneurs have been promoting an American Lemonade Day for years to encourage youngster entrepreneurs, with some success. And Australians—and us—have been arresting kids for lemonade stands too. Could this be the start of a pushback?

[Cartoon by Baloo from Jantoo. Hat tip Leighton Smith]

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