Lemonade Day event to expand in La.

After two years of being held in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette, organizers of Lemonade Day Louisiana are taking the event statewide to teach more children about financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

Organizers of the event held a news conference Thursday at LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business to kick off plans for Lemonade Day, which will be May 4.

While business, political and education leaders talked about the importance of Lemonade Day in teaching boys and girls how to save money and give back to the community, volunteers stuffed thousands of backpacks with workbooks on how children can make money by starting their own lemonade stands.

The workbooks teach business lessons on how to set goals, create budgets and serve customers.

The backpacks will be distributed for free at all Raising Cane’s restaurants in Louisiana beginning next week.

John Georges, the New Orleans businessman who helped introduce Lemonade Day to Louisiana, along with Raising Cane’s founder Todd Graves, said the event has grown from 5,000 children participating in south Louisiana in 2011 to an estimated 15,000 this year.

Georges has signed a letter of intent to purchase The Advocate.

Stacy Schliewe, of Lemonade Day Louisiana, said the lessons of the event are starting to spread to more than just one day.

“We’re seeing teachers sign up whole classes for Lemonade Day and making this part of their lessons,” she said. “That’s something we thought would grow out of this.”

Graves joked that he went from operating a single lemonade stand as a boy to running 154 stands as an adult — lemonade is one of the signature drinks at Cane’s.

“We teach the children they should spend one-third of the money they make, save one-third and give one-third back to the community,” he said.

Graves said corporate sponsors have donated $225,000 for Lemonade Day to cover the costs of distributing the business workbooks.

Charlie D’Agostino, executive director of the Louisiana Business and Technology Center at LSU, told a table of young participants from the Big Buddy program, who were wearing bright yellow shirts and handing out cups of lemonade, that he hopes Lemonade Day sets them on a course for the future.

“I hope you go on to study entrepreneurship at LSU and set up businesses in the student incubator,” D’Agostino said.

To register for Lemonade Day Louisiana or for more information, go to louisiana.lemonadeday.org