Gen Z is definitely in their entrepreneur bag. From young CEOs to influential creators, many teens are using their creative minds to establish generational wealth at such a young age. In honor of Black Business Month, here are four black-owned businesses run by youth in our communities.
Meet The 16-Year-Old Beekeeper Behind Beeing2gether
Only 16 years old, Keith A. Griffith III is soaring to great heights of success in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. In 2019, he founded his first business Beeing2gether, LLC. The Shade Room exclusively spoke with Keith, and he opened up about his business start, recent accomplishments, and more.
“I was introduced into beekeeping in 2018 when both of my parents were incarcerated in federal prison. It was a challenging time. I had therapist and counseling sessions that helped but my grandmother noticed greater positive change after I began working with honeybees. Collectively with my parents I self-published a book intending to merge honeybee preservation and mental health awareness. That is my mission and motivation. Explore alternative ways to deal with mental health challenges while helping to save the bees,” Keith said.
His honey might be sweet, but the rewards he’s received are even sweeter. So far, Keith has won a few awards and two grants, but he says his greatest accomplishment is the love, support, and impact that Beeing2gether has received in the community. Keith’s future goal is to merge honeybee preservation and mental health therapy under one roof — in locations all across the world.
Meet The 14-Year-Old Behind Lane 1 Sneakers
Amira-Dior Traynham-Artis, 14, is stepping to her own creative beat as she makes her stamp in Brooklyn, New York. A few years ago, the middle schooler started sketching out designs of clothing and shoes which led to the birth of her ‘Lane 1’ brand! Sis laced up her idea, and with the help of her mother, she was ready to put her heart and SOLE into her custom shoes.
Per Amira-Dior’s website:
“LANE 1 was created as a walk of expression. When you wear them, you’re speaking without saying something. They are unique. They are high quality. They are YOU in your own lane.LANE 1- Speak without saying something.”
In March, she was invited to gift 75 pairs of her shoes to celebrities who attended an Oscar ceremony event. Amira-Dior may be young, but her dreams are huge.
In an interview with ABC 7, she mentioned that she dreams of designing for Zendaya and even collaborating with Nike or Adidas one day.
Meet The 18-Year-Old Behind Me & The Bees Lemonade
They say everything is big in Texas, and for Mikaila Ulmer’s business, that statement stands true. At a young age, she already had folks buzzing about the taste of her lemonade.
In fact, the ‘Me & The Bees’ idea all started from a simple bee sting. Instead of dwelling on her dislike for bees, Mikaila’s curiosity led to some research which sparked her fascination after finding out how much bees help the ecosystem. While thinking of an idea for a business competition, she became inspired by her great granny Helen’s flaxseed lemonade.
On her website. Mikaila said:
“I decided to give her beloved lemonade a new twist by adding honey from bees, instead of only sugar. That’s how Be Sweet Lemonade was born! However, we had to change the name due to a copyright issue so we decided to call it Me & the Bees Lemonade because we give a percentage of sales to help save the bees. We are now celebrating more than 10 years in “buzzness!”
Mikaila, now 18, has turned her bee sting into a multi-million idea while helping bees in the process. Over the years, her liquid gold has helped her spread her wings into stores like Whole Foods, Target, Costco and more!
Meet The 18-Year-Old Behind Mr. Cory’s Cookies
Cory Nieves, 18, is coming in hot and ready with his booming cookie business. According to his website, he founded his company at the age of six after he constantly complained about taking the bus to school. This motivated him to start selling cookies to raise funds in his hometown of Inglewood, New Jersey.
He kept eating up all his success and stayed committed to the mission. His mother, Lisa Howard, encouraged him to sell cookies while saving money for college. Not only did this help expand his business, but pushed him to sell 10 more delicious flavors, lemonade, & hot cocoa to his customers.
Greatness didn’t just stop in the kitchen, for Cory, this was only the beginning. This heated-up brand deals with multiple nonprofit organizations and companies like Ralph Lauren and Bloomingdale’s. His cookies can also now be found on Amazon & Walmart.
Know a teen entrepreneur? Brag on them below.
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