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Generating Buzz about “Generation Z”

As the clichéd saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” However, this is just what eleven-year-old entrepreneur and philanthropist Mikaila Ulmer did after getting stung by a bee. She admits that although at first scared of bees, she became fascinated by their niche and the growing honey bee epidemic.[1] In response to plight of the honey bee, Ulmer came up with Me & the Bees a lemonade company—that uses honey as a natural sweeter—and donates a percentage of its profits to local and international organizations dedicated to ameliorating the condition of bees. Little did Ulmer know that her small lemonade stand would expand into the multi-million-dollar industry that is it today. A couple months ago, Ulmer signed a major deal with Whole Foods so that her sweet treat will appear in more than 55 stores in four southern states: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.[2]

When it comes to being a young entrepreneur, Ulmer is not alone. Other business professionals have started lucrative entrepreneurial ventures at a young age such as fifteen-year-old Noa Mintz, founder of Nannies by Noa, a babysitting service based in New York City and the Hamptons. Mintz’s business includes twenty-five full-time nannies and fifty babysitters. According to The Huffington Post, while Mintz only charges a flat fifteen percent coordination fee on each commission, it is estimated that she makes about $375,000 each year.[3]

The post-millennial generation, born from 1995 to 2010 (coined Generation Z), is expected to be the most entrepreneurial age cohort yet. According to Forbes Magazine, a survey conducted by Internships.com found that 72% of Generation Z’s want to start their own business someday. Whereas, only 64% of Generation Y’s said so in the exact same study.[4] Regarding career options, the post-millennial generation is known for its ability to use technology with ease and dreams of making their hobbies into profitable businesses. This ambitious and pioneering spirit is manifested in Generation Z’s determination and resourcefulness when it comes to confronting business development obstacles.

Financing tends to be one of the biggest struggles when starting a business. Since young entrepreneurs tend not to have a strong credit history and usually have few assets, it can often be hard for them to get business loans. Consequently, many have to engage in shareholding, form partnerships with angel investors or venture capitalists, or use social media to crowdfund in order to secure enough capital. Ulmer entered two competitions—the Acton Children’s Business Fair and Austin, Texas’s Lemonade Day.[5] Additionally, Ulmer was featured on the ABC show Shark Tank, where she had to pitch her company to a panel of investors who chose to endow funds for a share.

Since uncovering resources and accessible information regarding business development poses a serious impediment to many entrepreneurs, the National Women’s Business Council released their new resource platform entitled Grow Her Business last week, to enable access to information on almost two hundred resources to support woman entrepreneurial ventures and inform decisions along the way. The resource platform is broken up into four distinct stages: ideate, start-up, scale, and grow, and it covers topics such as how to go about procuring capital in various circumstances as well as the difficulties associated with business development. The Council hopes that the resource platform will prove invaluable to helping small business owners start up, scale up, and grow one’s company. Visit Grow Her Business at https://womenbizinfo.sites.usa.gov/.

Mikaila Ulmer and Noa Mintz have done a lot to share their successful business journeys in hopes that they will inspire other young entrepreneurs and women to pursue their passions and dreams. This June, Mikaila introduced President Obama at the “United State of Women Summit” in Washington, DC. In her opening remarks she stated, “Entrepreneurs hold the American Dream, and the biggest dreamers are kids.” When it comes to being an entrepreneur, age does not play as significant a role as one might think—all one truly needs is an idea, passion, focus, and the supportive resources needed to facilitate success. In case you missed the “United State of Women Summit” you can view Mikaila’s speech online (6:42:00). While we are just starting to catch the buzz about Generation Z’s entrepreneurial efforts, we can expect to hear more success stories in the not so distant future.

 

Author: Kiana Amirkiaee is currently a summer 2016 Engagement Fellow at the National Women’s Business Council and a ’19 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

[1] "Our Sweet Story." Me & the Bees Lemonade, Web. 07 July 2016. <http://meandthebees.com/pages/about-us>.

[2] Julia Zorthian, "This Little Girl Got a Whole Foods Contract for Her Lemonade Business." Time. Time Magazine, 31 Mar. 2016. Web. 08 July 2016. <http://time.com/4277590/whole-foods-bees-lemonade/>.

[3] Ryan Barrell,"15-Year-Old Noa Mintz Is Getting Rich from Babysitting." The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 12 July 2016. <http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/26/nannies-by-noa-rich-kids_n_67....

[4] Dan Schawbel, "What Generation Z Entrepreneurs Are Like." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 2 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 July 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2014/09/02/what-generation-z-ent....

[5] "Our Sweet Story." Me & the Bees Lemonade.

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