7 young black innovators changing the world through entrepreneurship
Age is just a number when it comes to innovative leaders.
Thanks to burgeoning imaginations and impressive work ethic, many young black entrepreneurs are already making waves with their business acumen.
Below are just a few young people — all 16 years old or younger — creating products for the world that are creative, sustainable and give back to their communities.
1. Asia Newson of Super Business Girl
"I teach young people like myself how to make their own money and buy the things they really need in their life because they won't have to ask their parents for anything if they do the same thing that I do," Asia Newson explained in her 2014 TED talk.
So what exactly does the 13-year-old do? She sells what she calls "the world's best candles," like this signature candle you can purchase for $14.99, as well as a line of Super Business Girl merchandise.
She also offers "How to be a YOUTHpreneur" workshops, which teach students from fourth to 12th grade about entrepreneurship, merchandising, innovation and, of course, candle making.
2. Mikaila Ulmer of Me and the Bees Lemonade
While brainstorming startup ideas for a children's business competition, 11-year-old Mikaila was stung by a bee and then happened to discover her grandmother's flaxseed lemonade recipe — and the rest is history.
This young entrepreneur used local honey to sweeten a batch lemonade, and the result is her wildly successful Me and the Bees Lemonade, a product found in Starbucks and Whole Foods stores across the country. Not only does it taste good, but the profits from each bottle go toward organizations protecting honeybees and educating others on their importance.
3. Cory Nieves of Mr. Cory's Cookies
Cory Nieves, who turns 13 this year, is the cookie connoisseur behind Mr. Cory's Cookies, and he's in the running for best dressed CEO of all time.
The young maven has his products in Whole Foods and other grocery stores across the U.S. It all started when he was tired of taking the bus, so he decided to save money to buy a car for his mother.
The cookies are made with natural ingredients, but most importantly, "they're made with love — the most
important ingredient," Cory has explained. You can't beat that.
4. Moziah "Mo" Bridges of Mo's Bows
When he was 9 years old, Mo enlisted the help of his mother and his grandmother, a retired seamstress, to start selling colorful and expressive bowties online and across Memphis, Tennessee.
Now, the 15-year-old is the CEO of Mo's Bows, a company that rakes in $200,000 each year and was featured on Shark Tank. Mo's Bows can also boast that its clients include Barack Obama and Steve Harvey as clients.
If you want to get in on the action, you can find Mo's bowties in stores like Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. You can also buy his "Go Mo" bowtie online to support his nonprofit, which provides opportunities to send Memphis children to summer camps.
5. Natalie McGriff of The Adventures of Moxie McGriff
Sometimes it takes an awful situation to spark a brilliant idea. Natalie was dealing with insecurities regarding her skin color and hair texture, and, wanting no other child to feel that same way, the 9-year-old author teamed up with her mother to create an empowering comic book series.
The Adventures of Moxie McGriff follows a young girl who saves her town with her special hair powers. Natalie has created a universe with Moxie, and her products take the character to a whole new level.
6. Bishop Curry V of Oasis
Bishop may only be 10 years old, but that doesn't mean he can't save lives.
After hearing about an infant dying in a hot car, the young Texan created a device that will detect when a child is in a car, and alert parents and police — all while blowing cool air on the infant.
While it's still in design phases, Bishop and his father started a successful GoFund Me campaign to help pay for legal and manufacturing fees to turn his invention into a life-saving device for every car.
7. Maya Penn of Maya's Ideas
Sixteen-year-old Maya Penn has a lot of titles, from designer to author to animated filmmaker.
The young CEO not only creates environmentally sustainable fashion items, but has also written and illustrated children's books. And she's done it all while using her platform to bring awareness to a variety of issues, like bees and other animals that move pollen and the importance of the planet, and the need for eco-friendly sanitary products for girls.