A lot has changed since we were kids—and that includes what counts as childhood entrepreneurship and extracurricular activities. These days, kid entrepreneurs aren’t content with just having a lemonade stand; they’re building large-scale, high-impact companies that answer the call “be the change you want to see in the world.”
A nonprofit called Girls With Impact is helping girls take their dreams of entrepreneurship and make them into a reality.
The “live, online mini MBA for girls 11-18, designed with Harvard leaders” offers a 9-week after-school program year round for girls. It “moves girls from ideation to a business plan and venture pitch, driving improvements in confidence, leadership, college readiness and professional skills for success.” Nearly 1,000 girl business owners unveiled their ventures, many of which were created to address needs and concerns brought on by the coronavirus and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Black women start businesses faster than any other demographic, and it looks like our daughters and nieces are keeping up the pace. Let’s meet some of the amazing girl entrepreneurs who are changing the world around them with their businesses.
Growing up in Atlanta and living in Los Angeles, Kayli Joy Cooper knew that homelessness existed. But a mission trip to the heart of L.A. changed her perspective on the homeless.
“The homeless are just like you and I. They are real people with real stories and the only thing that separates us is one or two paycheck,” Kayli says. “From that point on a fire grew inside of me to not only learn more but to serve a population that is oftentimes overlooked.”
Every girl deserves the opportunity to experience the benefit of self care.
That fire inspired her company Girl Well, self-care kits for homeless teens to inspire self-love. The kits include items like soothing face masks, comfy socks, mindfulness journals, handwritten affirming notes from Kayli, and a list of organizations that the recipient can go to for support.
“We are in this day and age where mental health, wellness, and self-care are at the forefront of many conversations, but the way we talk about self care is only accessible to a certain group of people,” she explains. “Every girl deserves the opportunity to experience the benefit of self care. Every girl deserves to be well.”
Kayli plans on dropping off Girl Well kits in bulk at L.A. shelters that have expressed a need for them. But she’s also working toward a future where her kits are sponsored through a monthly subscription service and filled with products from big beauty brands turned partners.
“It’s my hope that the Girl Well self-care kits would help teens in tough situations value and love themselves a little bit more.”
No one needs to tell Amira Archibald to go after what she wants. At 8, she learned how to sew and started taking fashion design classes. At 9, she took business and finance classes that inspired her to create a “mini couture line” called Amira’s Creations.
Now at 15, Amira is launching Melanin Magic, a new line that “mixes my interest in fashion with technology and my belief in being pro-Black.”
Amira’s pro-Black mission is apparent in the brand’s name.
“One of the features many Black people have and take pride in is having melanin. From there, I came up with ‘Melanin Magic’ because I’ve heard of Black Girl Magic, and I wanted to put a twist on that including different types of Black people, and not just women [and] girls,” the New York City-based designer explains.
“I plan to start off with shirts, hoodies, and hats—maybe eventually branching out to more—with pro-Black messages,” she adds, with 10% of profits will go to Black Lives Matter and several other organizations.
You’ve probably seen people who aren’t really following the socially distancing rules of staying six feet apart. Neha Shukla of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has created an ingenious solution—SixFeetApart, wearable tech that buzzes to let the wearer know when someone or something is six feet away.
“Through my window I could see people weren’t following social distancing guidelines. They didn’t realize they weren’t staying six feet apart,” the 15-year-old founder explains. “I thought it would be interesting to just be 100% sure you’re being safe.”
Neha’s thinking beyond her window when it comes to SixFeetApart’s reach.
“I want to make it a household thing—easy to use and everyone has it,” she says. “It could even be marketed by big medical companies to prevent the spread of the virus. As we re-open, a lot of us might not be following social distancing.”
Kristen St. Louis, 17, has loved reading since she was young. But as she got older, she realized that the authors and characters “didn’t look like me,” she explains. “It was the same in my classes, too.”
Kristen is launching MirrorMe Diversity to combat the lack of diversity in literature—and that includes diversity “by topics, gender, and religion,” the entrepreneur explains. The platform will provide access to books, allowing young readers to rank them and a guide for educators, and the ability to promote a favorite author. With a goal to have the platform used by schools and teachers across the country, Kristen has already raised $400 and collected 450 books.
Interested in having your daughter join Girls With Impact? Use discount code MATER100 to get $100 off any version of the Academy through 2020.