Good morning, Broncos Country!
Mikaila Ulmer enrolled in her first two youth entrepreneurial events when she was 4. That also was when she was stung by a bee ... twice.
Eight years later she’s a powerful force in the lemonade industry with her company Me & The Bees Lemonade. Just to hammer this point home: She’s 12. And the Austin, Texas native just got even more powerful in the lemonade industry this week thanks to the backing of current and former NFL players - to the tune of an $810,000 investment. Two of those have ties to the Denver Broncos, former defensive back and special teams player Omar Bolden and defensive tackle Malik Jackson.
First some background. The goal of Ulmer and her company is to help save the bees. It was because of that bee-stinging incident when she was 4 that she got fascinated with one of the most important creatures on our planet. That was also when she got a family cookbook that included a recipe for flaxseed lemonade. As Ulmer says on her “our story” page, “So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen's recipe?” Ulmer and her company donate a percentage of the profits to saving bees. Ulmer has the clever pitch, “buy a bottle, save a bee.”
According to Sports Illustrated, before this recent investment Ulmer already had a deal with Whole Foods worth $11 million. That was made possible by her appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2015. On the hit show, she secured $60,000. From the original story on Ulmer in the Houston Chronicle: “The company was launched by Ulmer and her family after she got started selling her great grandmother's flaxseed lemonade recipe at a stand in her hometown of Austin. The privately held business has grown more than 100 percent each year since 2014.”
Then in June 2016, Ulmer had the chance of a lifetime. She introduced President Barack Obama. If you haven’t watched it, you have to remind yourself she was 11 when she gave her speech.
The recent investment in Ulmer’s company was headed by Arian Foster. As the Chronicle says, the former running back for the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins “looks for strategic investments.”
“She's so humble," Foster told the Chronicle on Thursday at ‘Been Brilliant Entrepreneur Day’ at Holthouse Boys & Girls Club in Houston. "You always have to be open and willing to learn, and she is. I'm learning from her, too. It's a cycle. You have to keep an open mind and continue to grow."
On top of Foster, Bolden and Jackson, the list of current and former players includes: Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin; former Texans running back Jonathan Grimes; Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner; Lions cornerback Darius Slay; Chicago Bears cornerback Sherrick McManis; Oakland Raiders quarterback EJ Manuel; Texans center Nick Martin. Financial planner Lameck "Humble" Lukanga also is part of the group.
As Ulmer told the Chronicle about the chance to work with this group:
"It's awesome that I get to work with and around these two," Ulmer said while sitting next to Foster and Quin. "They're very smart. I learned a lot from them in the past couple of hours. I'm very happy that I'm able to work with them and they invested in my company and them helping us and mentoring us and believing in our mission. I think we have a better chance of achieving our goals. That keeps me pumped and excited every day."
To think this all started because of a lemonade stand and two bee stings. At 12, there’s no limit to what this special girl will do next.
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