September has come, and as usual it comes along with: « Back to school » fashion collections, tanned colleagues telling you their amazing holidays (or not) or how many and which Pokémon they managed to catch (or not), schools etc. But some kids (and big kids) are managing both schooling and business! Furthermore, some of these very young entrepreneurs started with sustainable-oriented ideas! Let’s have a look to some inspiring kids, whose common points appear to have turned their life experiences into opportunities and to not have profits as top priority!
Caring about people’s health
Jack Andraka, a teen prodigy, invented an inexpensive new method to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers, when he was in high school. His invention has been patented, and the young teen is now internationally known thanks to prestigious awards he got, such as the 2014 Jefferson Award, and interviews and speeches he gave. Although, this innovative method is to be considered with caution, since it is still under progress for potential application, the determination and hard work Jack Andraka put through this achievement is quite inspiring. In February 2013 at his TED talk, when he was 16, he highlighted the possibilities of the Internet, where ideas can be shared, and not just “duck-face pictures of yourself”. He said “So if a 15 year-old who didn’t even know what a pancreas was could find a new way to detect pancreatic cancer, just imagine what you could do.” Jack Andraka, at TED, February 2013
“[…]But through the Internet, anything is possible. Theories can be shared, and you don't have to be a professor with multiple degrees to have your ideas valued. It's a neutral space, where what you look like, age or gender; it doesn't matter. It's just your ideas that count. For me, it's all about looking at the Internet in an entirely new way, to realize that there's so much more to it than just posting duck-face pictures of yourself online. You could be changing the world. So if a 15 year-old who didn't even know what a pancreas was could find a new way to detect pancreatic cancer, just imagine what you could do. […]” - Jack Andraka, at TED, February 2013
Caring about people’s safety
They are everywhere! Not the Pokémon, but the Pokémon-Go players! Therefore, it is impossible to avoid this topic as now, virtually and actually, Pokémon trainers are in every trends and places; even people driving on highways are trying to “catch ‘em all”! They look like as if they were practicing cross-fit: walking slowly and suddenly running very quickly, slowing down, jumping up – because the catch was good or not- then running again etc. Quite funny to watch from a distance, but less when you bump into such player… The game popularity raised some safety questions as to how careful players are. A topic taken seriously by a 7-year-old player, Athen Salcedo, who created Poke Glo to make sure people won’t get hurt when playing at dusk. In order to provide more of his Poke Glo, the young entrepreneur launched a GoFundMe page – with the help of his parents – where the initial USD 5 000 goal has been already exceeded within a month – as of mid-August, the “Poke Glo for Pokemon Go Safety” GoFundMe page is at USD 7 824! Supported by his parents, Athen Salcedo has also launched his Poke Glo site! Amazing for a 2nd grade kid!
“[…]I did not want any people to get hurt from being out late with the Pokemon Go game so I made a reflector button that lights up when cars drive by. I want everyone to have one. Hopefully more people will get them and wear them all the time when they play so cars can see them. […] I don't want to be rich by selling these because I am going to be in the NFL but I do want people to get as many as they want so I want to make them cheap to buy.” - Athen Salcedo on Poke Glo site as of August 2016
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” - Albert Einstein
Caring about people’s future
Mikaila Ulmer is only 11 and is already qualified as a social entrepreneur, public speaker, philanthropist and bee ambassador, and has introduced the President of the United States, Barack Obama, for his speech at the United State of Women Summit last June. Amazing right? Founder & CEO of the company Me & the Bees, the young entrepreneur started her business at age 4, in 2009, after being stung twice by bees and developing a keen interest in honeybees. Her lemonades sweetened with honey are distributed in a large network, including Whole Foods Market stores, the world’s leader in natural and organic foods. Me & the Bees’ mission is both environmental and social, as a portion of the generated profits (more than 10%) from lemonades sales are donated to local and international organizations “fighting hard to save the honeybees”. Mikaila Ulmer is also leading workshops on how to save the honeybees and participating in social entrepreneurship panels. With her Facebook page Me & the Bees Lemonade, visitors can ‘Like’ interesting facts about bees, honey and Me & the Bees Lemonade.
“[…] Some advice that I would give to kids or adults wanting to start their own business, is that working hard is a must, so if you want to be an entrepreneur, you definitely have to be OK with working hard. Another piece of advice is to create a business that you have a true passion for. Because the more passionate you are about what you do, lead to more fun while doing it. And my final lesson is that you can still be sweet and be profitable. So when I started BeeSweet Lemonade [note: former name of Me & the Bees Lemonade] I thought I would have to choose between making money and helping save the bees. And overtime I realized that I could do both and be what is called a social entrepreneur.” - Mikaila Ulmer, interview with NBCBLK, March 2016
Amazed and inspired, and maybe more? To conclude this article, I think this meme is a perfect ending and a good note to be kept in mind!