Last year, a 9-year-old boy from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, set up a lemonade stand. He got lots of customers. “They all took a sip of lemonade and either gave a thumbs-up or said it was really good!” he told TIME for Kids. Even so, he didn’t want to share his name for this article. That’s because he found out he’d broken a state law by operating a business without a permit.
In most states, it’s illegal for kids to open a lemonade stand without first applying for a permit or license. These laws have a purpose. They stop business owners from disregarding food-safety standards and traffic rules. But permits and licenses cost time and money.
The good news for young entrepreneurs ? In recent years, several states have made it easier for kids to run lemonade stands. And more lawmakers are getting on board.
Passing a Bill
Pennsylvania now supports kids selling lemonade. John Hershey is a state representative there. In February, he introduced a bill. It was nicknamed Free the Lemonade Stand. It exempts kids from having to get a permit or license before starting most small, short-term businesses. Hershey says running a lemonade stand is an “opportunity that young kids should have.”
Tom Wolf is Pennsylvania’s governor. On June 30, he signed Hershey’s bill into law.
There are many reasons for a kid to start a business. They include raising money for charity and keeping busy. Victoria Hanson, 11, is a former TFK Kid Reporter. She lives in Chadds Ford Township, Pennsylvania. Victoria supports her state’s new law. “Children are not old enough to apply for jobs,” she says. “Selling lemonade is an easy way for kids to make money.”
Hershey says that kids who run a business learn valuable skills. “The American dream is to want to build something for yourself,” he says. And this new lemonade-stand law “helps kids do that at an early age.”