A Mighty Girl: 10-Year-Old Mikaila Ulmer of Austin, Texas is Entrepreneur on Mission to Help Save Honeybees
10-year-old Mikaila Ulmer of Austin, Texas is an entrepreneur on a mission to help save honeybees. This Mighty Girl is taking her social mission-driven lemonade business to the "next level" thanks to a $60,000 investment she received on the show "Shark Tank" earlier this year. Now, her BeeSweet Lemonade company -- which she was inspired to start when she was only four years old -- is on track to sell nearly 140,000 bottles this year!
Mikaila says that the inspiration for her company came at age four when she was stung by a bee twice in one week. According to Mikaila, "I was terrified of bees and I would over react and freak out [after being stung] and so my parents wanted me to do some research on the bees and I did that research and in doing that research I found out how incredibly important pollinators they are and that they're dying. So I decided to create a product that helps save the bees."
After she discovered her great-grandmother's 1940s recipe for flaxseed lemonade, Mikaila decided to start a lemonade business which uses honey from local bees for sweetener rather than corn syrup. As her business grew, she expanded from selling lemonade at a stand to bottling it and selling it in local stores and restaurants. She also donates a portion of her profits to organizations dedicated to protecting honeybees.
Mikaila's dedication and business savvy impressed "Shark Tank" investor Daymond John when she appeared on the show last spring. He agreed to invest $60,000 in BeeSweet and observed, "Partnering with Mikaila made perfect sense... She's a great kid with a head for business and branding. She's got a great idea and I'm happy to help take BeeSweet to the next level."
The young CEO is thrilled at the opportunity her company has given her to help the bees she loves, stating, "It's solving a problem in this world. That's what keeps me motivated to do it." And, she has a little advice of her own on how to be successful in business or any venture: “The more passionate you are about what you do, the better you do it, and the more fun you’ll have watching it, and you need to have perseverance to make your business bigger and better. . .courage, passion, and perseverance.”
To read more about Mikaila's story on CBS News, visit http://cbsn.ws/1Tb0Khh -- or check out BeeSweet Lemonade's website at http://beesweetlemonade.com/
For a helpful guide to encourage your own Mighty Girl's entrepreneurial spirit, we highly recommend the excellent "A Smart Girl's Guide: Making Money" for ages 9 to 13 at http://www.amightygirl.com/making-money
For an inspiring picture book about how real-life Mighty Girl Vivienne Harr used the profits from her lemonade stand to free 550 slaves, check out "Make A Stand: When Life Gives You Lemons, Change The World!" at http://www.amightygirl.com/make-a-stand
For stories for children and teens about entrepreneurial girls and women, visit our "Entrepreneurship" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/general-interest/jobs-money?cat=123
And, for Mighty Girl stories that emphasize the importance of determination in pursuing your dreams, visit our "Perseverance" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/personal-development/values?cat=219
Buy Milkweed (or other native plants) in Bulk from Local Nursery to Re-Sell as Fundraiser for Pollinator Plantings!
This is the perfect time to gather your bee club or other groups to contact local native nurseries (preferably wholesalers) about a volume purchase. Be sure to ask about their pesticide use before you place your order and avoid that that use neonicotinoid insecticides because of their longevity in throughout the plant--stem, leaves and pollen.
Go to the USDA Plants Database to determine if a certain species is native to your county.
For example, you can plant milkweed plugs (delicious for monarch caterpillars) this fall and they will bloom next year. In the process, you can raise a little money for your community's pollinator garden program for more plants!
On August 21, Minneapolis made a bold move for bees. According to WCCB CBS Minnesota, their resolution means the city will now plant more food for pollinators and decrease pesticide use on land the city owns and manages. Three cheers for Minneapolis!
Concerned citizens of Phoenix, Oregon, organized to apply for Bee City USA certification earlier this year. Among all of the other pollinator awareness and pollinator-freindly habitat activities Phoenix has done and plans to do, one requirement for certification is mounting at least one street sign to make the community aware of the municipality's commitment. As simple as a sign may seem, it serves as a constant invitation for citizens to get involved in making the world safer for pollinators. The City of Phoenix has designated its Parks & Greenways Commission as the body responsible for pollinator matters. They plan to hold public meetings at least quarterly.
While hiking the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch yesterday, William Saupe snapped a couple of pictures of monarchs cavorting in the common milkweed on their southward flight to Mexico. Enjoy! (Thanks, William!)
The Oregon Honey Festival by Cascade Bee Girl will have its 2nd annual Conference on October 17 at the Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is the 5th certified Bee City USA and hosts the 1st Bee Campus USA--Southern Oregon University! This year, in addition to bringing local beekeepers and honey to the public, Conference presenters will talk about Honey Tasting, Judging, Cooking with Honey, Pesticide Effects and Pesticide Alternatives, Queen Rearing, Naturalistic and Spiritual Approaches to Beekeeping, Scientific Approaches to Beekeeping and MORE! Attendees will enjoy Honey Tasting, Live Music, Educational Presentations, Silent Auctions and Drawings. The missions of the Festival are to teach people about bee culture and science through taste, to support small and medium size beekeeping operations and to support farm and school initiatives. Conference Presenters will include Dr. Susan Kegley of the Pesticide Research Institute; Marie Simmons, winner of a James Beard and Julia Childs awards and former Food Editor for Cuisine Magazine; Trevor J. Riches, Certified Honey Judge; Dr. Lynn Royce, Director of Tree Hive Bees, Laura Ferguson, Director of College of the Melissae, John Jacob of OldSol Bees, Katharina Davitt, Master Beekeeper and co-owner of Davitt Apiaries and Joy and Eric McEwen of Diggin'Livin' Apiary.
Tickets are available at: www.oregonhoneyfestival.com and www.eventbrite.com.
The Festival Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/OregonHoneyFestival
The First National Conference on Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes is scheduled for October 12-14 in Hendersonville, NC. Hosted by Michigan State University and North Carolina State University, this conference is intended for extension educators, academic and industry researchers, growers, and representatives of related industries interested in or involved with ornamental plant production or maintenance. Sessions will include research presentations and discussions on topics such as: Function of urban/ornamental pollinators, threats to pollinators, impacts of neonicotinoids and other pesticides, pollinator-safe products and strategies, and educating the public about pollinators.
The Mt. Cuba Center researches ecological values of native plants and what may be inadvertently lost in their cultivars. Cultivars are often bred for improved color and disease-resistance, but with no regard for the impact of the breeding on pollinator nutrition or other ecological benefits.
Read here about their quest to find the perfect phlox, which happens to only be pollinated by butterflies and moths!
The city government channel of Wilmington, NC, the 10th city to be certified a Bee City USA, has produced a very informative video about why the New Hanover Bee Club thinks enhancing pollinator habitat is good for the whole community, Enjoy this informative video!
Hendersonville Public Works Director Tom Wooten wasted no time putting up street signs in the seventh Bee City USA in the nation. As part of their first National Pollinator Week celebration, the city held a press event to make the public aware of the city's new commitment to establishing more pollinator friendly habitat. Read the story here in the Hendersonville Lightening.
The Hendersonville Tree Board has organized efforts to plant 130 trees along Bearcat Loop leading to Hendersonville Elementary and Middle schools and along Upward Road at Spartanburg Highway. Many of those are native flowering trees that support pollinators.
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.