When State Senator Angela Williams, a former business woman, learned the lemonade stand of a constituent’s kids was shut down for lack of a permit, she started looking into how other states and municipalities regulate (or don’t regulate) kids’ businesses.
Following the shut down of that stand operated by Jennifer Knowles’ three boys in Stapleton last May, the Denver City Council approved a legislative change so kids’ temporary businesses no longer need to be permitted. Williams’ believes such a bill encourages creativity and entrepreneurship. Kids can try different ideas, selling products and services over summer break, for example, without violating licensing requirements.
Williams is proposing SB19-103, Legalizing Minors’ Businesses, which applies to youth under age 18, the business must be occasional (does not operate more than 84 days in one calendar year), and it must be located a sufficient distance from a commercial entity that is required to have a permit, so as not to compete with it. It does not prohibit a local government from enacting local laws, except they cannot require that a minor obtain a permit.
Williams invited young entrepreneurs from the metro area to a Business Expo to show their products in the West Foyer of the Capitol through the morning of Feb. 11, then attend and speak at the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee hearing on the bill that afternoon.
Josephine Stockton, who owns Nerdy Crochet, testified that the bill is important because it allows youth to “get their feet into owning a business in a way that is neither long-term binding or requiring the upfront cost of a permit.”
Surprisingly, 12-year-old Jack Bonneau, “founder and CEO of Jack’s Stands & Marketplaces” came to testify against the bill. “I believe kids can have their own businesses in their yard or front porch, but there are certain rules and regulations that apply when you go to different places…. those rules and regulations are there for a good reason such as safety concerns. At a lemonade stand…kids are a little germy and messy when they’re touching the ice and the cups and the lemons….I have had thousands of kids operate my stands that are properly permitted.”
The bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Jack Tate, responded to Bonneau, “Thanks for your testimony. We have to consider different points of view. It’s helpful to have someone come up and provide a different opinion.”
Editors note: A web search brought up a Forbes article that Bonneau had been on Shark Tank and was offered, and accepted, a $50,000 loan.