Who can resist the lure of a lemonade stand? Not me.
Every time I see some neighborhood kids set out a card table with a pitcher of lemonade and a stack of plastic cups, I smile. That's even before I see the inevitable sign duct-taped to the table reading "Lemonade 25 cents" and the hope on the faces of the proprietors as they wave me down to buy their wares.
I'm all for supporting that kind of entrepreneurial spirit. My son and his friends put their own unique spin on free enterprise when they picked several quarts of blueberries and then set up a stand in a church parking lot just as services were ending one Sunday in July. They sold out in less than five minutes. These entrepreneurs-in-the-making get a lesson in supply, demand, marketing and margins, all in one exercise.
Those memories made me wonder if any of the young entrepreneurs we're featuring on our cover in the story "Young bucks," by Senior Writer Randy Billings, ever had a lemonade stand. Regardless of their initial induction into entrepreneurship, they have all found success despite trials and tribulations. Some thwarted having their abilities persistently underestimated because of their ages; some battled to earn respect among peers; some learned the value of pivoting after failure. Collectively, they have an interesting tale to tell.
Cultivating the next generation of leaders is always a test, no matter what industry you're in. Three years ago, Camden National Bank started an innovative, in-house training program to groom its future leaders — a program that has grown to a three-level, nine-month commitment for the employees selected to participate in the Horizons program. Check it out, in "Training for the times," starting on page 34, part of this issue's focus on banking and finance. We also take a look at increases in credit union enrollment, in "Membership drive," on page 26; a list of Maine's largest banks on page 32; an update on how Maine is weathering foreclosures on page 30; and a compelling commentary from Bangor attorney Roberta Winchell on why lending programs geared toward businesswomen are important, in "Fueling potential," on page 29.
If you've been wondering about the HR and legal implications of employing people who use medical marijuana, we've got some terrific guidance from attorney Lori Londis Dwyer. She offers a practical guide on page 37.
And Contributing Writer Christian MilNeil takes us to Piscataquis County where some big thinkers are imagining the creation of a walkable village community, in "Village people," starting on page 22. What makes this more than a pipe dream is the $300,000 in pledges from people who want to live in such a place. A cool idea for one of Maine's most rural communities.
Maybe they'll designate an entrepreneur's zone for future lemonade stands.