​How a 9 yr old entrepreneur landed an $11 million dollar deal, met with Obama and gave brands like Coke a run for their money

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work…”

Thomas Edison 

No other story exemplifies Thomas Edison’s observation better than the astonishing story of Mikaila Ulmer: founder of the rapidly growing Lemonade empire “Bee Sweet Lemonade”  (which  now  favorably competes against gigantic conglomerates in the food industry; the likes of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Kraft  to land a coveted shelf space and an $11 million contract with Whole Foods) has done it all. 

From pain to purpose 


When she was just 4, She had a scary experience of being stung by a bee. This experience left her being constantly  scared of bees, she says “After that I would freak out about the bees — like overreact”. This was what prompted her parents to make her do a little research about bees, so she will be less afraid. She found out about their great importance to plants and to the ecosystem; how amazing they are as pollinators, she also found out the sad fact that these bees are dying. There and then, she decided that she wanted to help save the bees.

European scientists have discovered that bees are dying primarily because of  NeoNics (pesticides derived from forms of nicotine poison) which is in common use.

“The pesticides either get into their brain and they can’t find their way back to the hive, or they have the pollen with the pesticides and they feed it to the hive and then the whole hive dies,” Mikaila said.
Makaila was able to lay her hands on the lemonade recipe from her great grand-mother’s recipe book. She then sweetened her lemonade with honey instead of sugar or other artificial sweetener, which would be healthier, help save the bees, and  support beekeepers.

With the support of her family members, She started brewing the BeeSweet Lemonade for local functions, and then they started bottling it for a pizza shop.

Trail blazer… 

Makaila Ulmer, who appeared on Shark Tank in 2015, was 9 years old as at the time of her pitch. After a ravishing story about her product, Ulmer received a deal from Fubu CEO, Daymond John for $60,000. This investment propelled her business to the next level, which eventually lead to an overwhelming offer of $11 million to sell Bee Sweet Lemonade and shelf space in 55 Whole Foods stores across the nation. On top of that, she also has a deal with United Natural Foods to help expand her business.
“We donate a portion of the profits we make to organizations that help the bees,” Mikaila said. “It’s solving a problem in this world. That’s what keeps me motivated to do it,”
Bee sweet lemonade was recently rebranded to Me & the Bees Lemonade.
Ulmer’s brand, Me and the bees has taught young enterpreneurs several lessons

Age is just a number

You can never be too young to start your company. The next time you hear that voice that tells you it can’t be done, ask yourself, ‘am i younger than Makaila Ulmer?’ 

Eleven-year-old Ulmer is teaching many who may have doubted themselves that they’re not too young to make an indelible impact in any industry. 

As long as you’re driven by a passion to change the world and you have a smart solution to a problem, your age is  irrelevant. 

That little idea can turn your life around in a big way. 

Your idea is not too lame to make your desirable impact, It is what you eventually do with that little idea that matters in the long run.

These days, it isnt uncommon for you to hear young people say that they had a particular inspiration before, but didn’t act on it until they saw another person receive an award for that idea on TV.

Your idea is enough to take you from where you are to where you want to be ____only if you act on it. Ideas minus execution equals frustration. 
Always look at the brighter side

The challenges you are facing in your life or business today might just take you to the next phase of your business. Look deeper, there just might be an opportunity in disguise around the corner. You have to be continually persistent and passionate to achieve your goals as an enterpreneur.

Take your life and business challenges and transform it into tangible solutions, innovations or businesses that can lead to success in unique ways. Get creative and find the correlations between problem and solution.

Mikaila keeps slaying 

This outstanding 11 year old enterpreneur has received honors as one of the Movement50 (MVMT50) Top 10 Innovators of the Year at the South by Southwest festival and She visited the White House for Easter 2016 (and met with President Obama, of course) as a celebrity chef!

We end this weeks Brand report with Makaila Ulmer’s words:

Big ideas start small so don’t be intimidated by the larger companies that you see present on the show (Shark Tank). You can grow into a million dollar company, you don’t have to be one to present to the Sharks…It’s an awesome experience. If you have an opportunity, DO IT!
See Makaila in action here:


And here:

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded Epower.ng, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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