Government red tape trips up kids’ lemonade stand

There’s nothing like a cool, refreshing glass of lemonade to quench your thirst on a hot day.

And it can be a great lesson in learning the value of money, hard work and running a small business too. At least, that was the idea when two young Ottawa-area girls set up a lemonade stand beside the Rideau Canal this past summer. Simple, right?

Unfortunately, the young entrepreneurs were quickly introduced to something Canada’s small business owners are all too familiar with: red tape. A mere two hours – and an impressive $52 – after opening, a National Capital Commission (NCC) officer informed the girls and their father that the median they’d set up their stand on was NCC property and they would need a permit to do business there.

Thankfully, this red tape story had a happy ending, with the NCC issuing a special permit for the lemonade stand, on the condition that one day’s worth of proceeds be donated to charity.

Looking for ways to get the young people in your life interested and involved in entrepreneurship? Check out VuKids an online series of business skills and financial literacy courses for kids created by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in partnership with Vubiz and M is for Money author Teresa Cascioli.

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