The Short of It
This 11-year-old's lemonade company just landed a multi-million dollar deal with Whole Foods. What were you doing in sixth grade?
Entreprenuer Mikaila Ulmer—who already won a $60,000 investment from the ABC show "Shark Tank" for her home-grown lemonade company—has now struck a multi-million dollar deal with Whole Foods. The tween's BeeSweet beverage, made from her great-grandma's recipe, will now be available in 55 stores in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New York.
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How does an elementary school kid go from playing Little League to competing in the big leagues? Mikaila says the journey began when she was stung by a bee twice in one week back when she was 4.
"I didn't enjoy the bee stings at all," she said. "They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen's recipe?"
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Mikaila started off by selling the lemonade, which is made with flaxseed and sweetened with honey from local bees, at local events in Austin and at a nearby pizza parlor. She donated a portion of the profits to organizations that help sustain honeybee populations. After securing the investment from "Shark Tank" investor Daymond John, BeeSweet then scored the contract with Whole Foods, which the sixth-grader announced last month while being honored as an innovator at SXSW.
Mikaila is one impressive young lady. Not many kids her age—or many adults, for that matter—would be innovative enough to turn their fear into a business! And it keeps her very busy. Last year, the little Queen Bee made President Obama's guest list for the White House Kids' State Dinner, and she recently returned for the annual White House Easter Egg Hunt.
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Yet somehow, Mikaila still finds time for a little good old-fashioned altruism.
"I am helping my friends start their own businesses," she told Today.
Smart AND sweet ... We'll drink to that!