PEOPLE DOING GOOD: 11 Year Old Starts Company To Save Honeybees
Mikaila Ulmer lives in Sugar Land, TX, is only 11 years old and has a deal worth a million dollars with Whole Foods to distribute her lemonade.
She started her company, Bee Sweet Lemonade after at 4 years old, she was stung twice in one week by bees.
“After that I would freak out about the bees — like overreact — and then my parents wanted me to do some research so I would be less afraid. And doing that research I found out how incredibly important pollinators they are, and that they were dying,” Mikaila told CBS This Morning. “And I decided to create a product that helped save the bees.”
So what did she do? She started looking through her great-grandmother’s old cookbooks and found a lemonade recipe, then she added honey as a way to help call attention to what’s happening to honeybees.
What’s happening to the honeybees? They’re disappearing; last year beekeepers say they lost 42 percent of their bee colonies, which is the second biggest yearly loss on record. It’s suspected that pesticides are to blame for the lower bee population; if you remember ‘Bee Movie’ that’s a bad thing since we need bees to help pollinate crops, trees, flowers and more.
The bees are dying because of Colony Collapse Disorder. Scientist aren’t sure if the pesticides destroy the bee’s brain and they never make it back to the hive or once they arrive back with the contaminated pollen and the whole hive eats it, they all die. Either way this is a serious problem.
So Mikaila and her family started brewing BeeSweet Lemonade and selling it at local community events and fairs. They then started bottling it for a local pizza place. After a few years, they had a full blown company going.
“We donate a portion of the profits we make to organizations that help the bees,” Mikaila said.
She says Bee Sweet is solving a problem in the world and that’s why even at her young age, when most kids would rather be playing, she is staying motivated to keep making the lemonade and a difference.
Whole Foods loved what they heard when they came across Mikaila’s story and started selling her lemonade in 35 of their stores and are about to be in 20 more stores. She’s also met President and Michelle Obama and was featured on ‘Shark Tank’, where she secured $60,000 in funding.
She says that when she first started her business, she was worried that she’d have to choose between making money and saving the bees, but has since realized you can do both!
You’re wondering right now if she gets time to be a kid, right? According to her mom:
Every weekend she does something that she enjoys. It may be rollerblading this weekend, sleepover this weekend. You create a balance because she is working as hard as she is playing.”
Want to show some support or find out where you can buy Makaila’s lemonade? Bee Sweet Lemonade