We spoke with Guy Shaham about his new start-up, BuyMyLemonade.com, his partnership with Junior Achievement Nova Scotia, Autism NS’s Promise of a Pearl, and on becoming the first Buy Social Purchaser in Atlantic Canada. The company BuyMyLemonade.com was founded by CEO Guy Shaham and Chief IT Officer Isaac Moscovich to teach entrepreneurship through social fundraising activities. It’s a similar model as the neighbourhood lemonade stand, but online.
Guy just took part in Propel ICT Demo Day at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, where he pitched his idea and secured the company’s first investment. Guy is confident that his idea will revolutionize student fundraising models, while focusing on the students and their interests, as well as developing their knowledge and experience with entrepreneurship, business and online trade.
So what exactly is Buy My Lemonade? Guy gave us the pitch:
“Think of it like this: when kids sell chocolate bars and cookies from door-to-door or at kiosks, we call them fundraisers. But when adults do it, it’s called entrepreneurship. Why can’t it be the same for kids? We think it can be.”
In order to raise money for their particular cause, whether that is a new playground, or a class trip, students learn about and use eCommerce through BuyMyLemonade.com to help fundraise for the causes they care about. Students log into an online platform hosted by their school, and can post their own inventory of products like their art and craft, used video games or books and other pre-approved products and services they wish to sell in order to raise money.
“School fundraising as it currently stands,” says Guy, “is complicated, potentially dangerous when it includes contacting strangers, and in general generates a low return on investment.”
“And, we’re sending kids conflicting messages: that chocolate bars are unhealthy and should be removed from school vending machines and cafeterias, yet that it’s ok to sell these bars for fundraisers to others. We also tell our kids not to talk to strangers but yet, we send them to knock on their doors”.
On BuyMyLemonade.com, kids control what they sell for the fundraiser and what to projects their money goes. These items could range from an old toy or game the child chooses to give away, to a service they wish to sell, like drawing custom animal portraits or making paintings. They will event be able to sell products produced by local artisans and social organizations if they don’t wish to sell their own. The options are only limited to the child’s imagination, with some controls (Parents approval) in place for safety and appropriateness.
Schools will be able to raise more money with less up-front investment, while teaching their kids entrepreneurship and social responsibility. From the student perspective, they’re more engaged in online activities today than door-to-door or in-person.
“Buy My Lemonade wants to leverage that and give them the opportunity to learn about business, be more engaged in fundraising they care about, and be more motivated and connected to the activity,” says Guy.
This brilliant idea has come from years of work in school fundraising. Guy has first-hand experience helping schools fundraise through his previous business, Junk2Gym. Through conversations with schools on this topic, Guy realized what an operational nightmare they had on their hands with traditional fundraisers.
“I’m bringing 9 years of history helping schools fundraise so they would be able to buy my fitness equipment,” says
Guy. “Because schools couldn’t pay for what I was selling, we made an arrangement where they donated “junk” - old and broken equipment and gear - and we would sell the junk to a materials wholesaler for re-use, and make the money needed to buy the schools’ new gym equipment.”
The concept from Junk2Gym translated perfectly to addressing traditional chocolate bar fundraising. From that idea, and through the help of a couple programming courses, BuyMyLemonade.com was born.
BuyMyLemonade.com launches with Junior Achievement Nova Scotia on October 15 to students across Nova Scotia.
Guy is hoping that BuyMyLemonade.com will extend to schools across North America, and start involving social and environmental organizations. For example, they are already working with Autism NS’s Promise of a Pearl to supply jewellery manufactured by their clients to the platform as well. And this is where the Buy Social Canada certification comes into play. BuyMyLemonade.com was just certified as the first Buy Social purchaser in Atlantic Canada.
“I want to benefit from the network Common Good Solutions and Buy Social Canada have across the country,” says Guy. “At the end of the day, we see ourselves as a platform that can really connect. If an organization can produce something that is good for the community, but lack the ability to sell it and/or grow, we bring them a network of youth all across the country who can sell it on their behalf.”
The possibilities are endless. “Our goal,” says Guy, is to convert the estimated 44 million attempted school fundraisers in North America each year into 44 million young entrepreneurs.”
“BuyMyLemonade.com was formed to do well by doing good,” says Guy. “We see a greater good to what we’re doing - we want the school to see us as their platform to increase online education, help schools raise money, and encourage healthier fundraising options. It’s a win-win-win!”
Learn more about BuyMyLemonade.com at: www. BuyMyLemonade.com https://www.facebook.com/BuyMyLemonade
Learn more about Buy Social Canada and it’s efforts to increase social purchasing at: http://buysocialcanada.ca