Photo of Lemonade groupWhat do you get when you combine DEN instructors, caffeinated high school students, and a regional incubator facility, and then shake for 2 weeks?  Answer: The LemonADE Stand.

The LemonADE Stand is a two-week course for high school students dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of design and entrepreneurship with a community twist. The “ADE” stands for “Accelerating Design and Entrepreneurship,” and this program was developed by The DEN leaders Bre Przestrzelski and John DesJardins in 2014 in partnership with e-Merge @ the Garage in Anderson, S.C. Now in its second year, the program has expanded from a weekend workshop to a two-week, for-credit course and it is “sipping success.”

“We are passionate about empowering these young leaders with design and entrepreneurship skills,” said DesJardins. “These are exactly the kinds of students we need at Clemson, and we look forward to possibly seeing them in The DEN in a few years.” The LemonADE Stand program was taught at the new business incubator facility in downtown Anderson and set the stage for the students to work with area business leaders on community challenges.

This year, community mentors shared their needs in the areas of healthcare, information technology, sports safety and childhood obesity. The students were challenged to come up with innovative technologies and business plans that could be implemented in downtown Anderson. One of the community leaders that participated was Trevor Booker, former Clemson University basketball star and alumnus.

Booker is a South Carolina native and advocate for student innovation in the Upstate. Now with the Utah Jazz, Booker recently donated $30,000 to The DEN in support of student entrepreneurship and scholarships for disadvantaged students. “Trevor’s support and participation in the LemonADE Stand this year was a phenomenal boost to the program’s success,” said Przestrzelski.  “The high school students loved getting to connect with an NBA star who was once in their shoes and who is now ready to help them advance  ideas that will help them and their communities grow.”

Craig Kinley, chairman of e-Merge @ the Garage, believes that entrepreneurship is an important element to the business ecosystem of a community. “The LemonADE Stand provides insight for entrepreneurial teens interested in the process of business creation,” he said.  “We are grateful that The DEN supports this important K-12 effort, and look forward to supporting The DEN at Clemson as a community partner.” The DEN members who came out to support and actively contribute to this cause during their summers included Nic Marais, Kayla Gainey, Hobey Tam, Alex Bina, Michael Stokes, Matthew Boyer, and David Orr.  The next LemonADE Stand event will be hosted later this semester for another round of high schoolers hoping to advance their knowledge in the design and entrepreneurship landscape.