This may be the sweetest story of the year, in more ways than one. Me & The Bees Lemonade was founded by 12-year-old Makaila Ulmer. What’s happened since is the stuff beyond the dreams of your average preteen.
The Founding Of A Lemonade Behemoth
Mikaila was just four years old when she was stung twice by a bee. The precocious youngster was naturally baffled by being stung and resolved to learn all that she could about bees.
What she learned left her with a brand new set of priorities for her life. She found that bees are an essential part of the ecosystem and that, without bees, there would be no life on earth. She also discovered that bees are not having the happiest time in the modern world and that some species are even under the threat of extinction.
While many children might not have been able to envision such a future, Mikaila could see it clearly and she was determined to save the bees. She chose her great-grandmother’s lemonade recipe, which uses with flax seed and honey, to raise funds for her cause.
The Minor Leagues
Mikaila appeared on Shark Tank in 2015. At the age of just 10, she not only managed to get through the show’s demanding entry and pitching process, but she succeeded in raising $60,000 of investment.
That led to an invitation to meet President Barack Obama in the White House to discuss her success. She was then named one of the Movement 50 Top 10 Innovators of the Year at SXSW.
Using her own initiative, she also landed a deal to distribute her lemonade at Whole Foods stores across the country—a task that has defeated more than one grown-up supplier over the years.
To build on her success, though, she needed more money to keep the company moving in the right direction.
The NFL Lines Up To Build Her Business
Arian Foster says: “Of course, any time you invest in anything, you look at if it’s going to be profitable. We look for companies that match our main focus of developing a good product but are also good people and do it for the right reasons. It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small black businesses is extremely important.”
Which is why he and other NFL players (Texan, Glover Quin, Duane Brown, Jonathan Grimes, Omar Bolden, Bobby Wagner, Darius Slay, Sherrick McManis, EJ Manuel, Malik Jackson, Nick Martin and Lameck Lukanga) have just pumped $810,000 into Mikaila’s business.
Mikaila learned of this at the “Been Brilliant Entrepreneur Day” at her local Boys & Girls Club. As you might expect, she’s pretty pleased with the results.
“I’m very happy that I’m able to work with them and they invested in my company—and them helping us and mentoring us and believing in our mission, I think we have a better chance of achieving our goals. That keeps me pumped and excited every day.”
12 years old with over a million dollars raised in investments? Mikaila has a very bright future in front of her indeed!