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President Obama

Meet the 12-Year Old Entrepreneur with Multi-Million Dollar Deals with WholeFoods, Wegmans & NFL Players



One Texan Pre-Teen has turned a lemonade stand into a profitable business with multi-million dollar chain grocery storedeals and powerful investors, including 10 NFL Players.

Mikaila Ulmber’s stint pitching her home-made nationally distributed lemonade to the sharks on ABC‘s Shark Tank back in 2015 got her lots of attention. While she was on the show, shark Daymond John  offered to invest $60,000 in the company in exchange for a 25% stake in it. Ulmer accepted his offer.

After the exposure, sales grew by 231%, she told CNBC.

The 7th grader has since met and introduced on stage then President Obama at a big event, was invited to the White House twice and more recently, she caught the eye of 10 National Football League (NFL) players who chose to invest in the succesful entrepreneur.

According to NBC Sports, Arian Foster, Glover Quin, Duane Brown, Jonathan Grimes, Omar Bolden, Bobby Wagner, Darius Slay, Sherrick McManis, EJ Manuel and Malik Jackson recently agreed to invest $810,000 collectively in capital to Ulmer’s Austin-Texas based family business.

Hey everybody!! Soo excited that I was on shark tank. Thank you! What a show???

A post shared by Me & the Bees Lemonade (@mikailasbees) on

“We look for companies that match our main focus of developing a good product, but are also good people and do it for the right reasons,” former Houston Texan running back Arian Foster told the Houston Chronicle about the importance of backing businesses like Mikaila’s. “It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small black businesses is extremely important.”

Ulmber’s personality sells the business and she has been in charge for the 9 years of being in business.


The middle school counts on her mom to assist with marketing and her dad to manage the finance operations.

Ulmer’s business responsibilities include doing trade show demos, media interviews, business presentations, workshops about bees and about entrepreneurship, depositing her money in the bank, putting in money orders, depositing checks, checking the business email and posting on social media.

Meanwhile, she maintains all As and goes to school full time.

Amazing, right? Her most investors think so.

“She’s very special. Obviously, she has a bright future,” Detroit Lions safety Quin said. “Hopefully, I can be a part of it and nourish it and watch her grow. The sky is the limit.”

How did a 12 year old become a 9 year old CEO vet in the first place?

It all started when Ulmer got stung by two bees in one week when she was just 4-years old. Her parents encouraged her to learn more about bees to lessen her fear of them and to do some research about them. It coincided with the receipt of a family recipe book her grand mom sent her which contained her great-grandmother Helen’s 1940s flaxseed lemonade recipe.

While looking for ideas of what to organize for a community showcase and competition to encourage entrepreneurship in children, Ulmer, with the help of her parents, of course, decided to set up a lemonade stand. Her great-grandmom’s recipe came in handy.

It eventually became her signature product, a popular drink called “Me & The Bees.”


Ulmer eventually tweaked the recipe to use locally sourced honey as a sweetener. Sales went through the roof.

Today, Ulmer is the CEO of the company, BeeSweet Lemonade. The company’s motto is “Buy a bottle, save the bees!”


Lemonade sales were good, so Ulmer continued to sell her drinks at youth entrepreneurial events until one year, the owner of East Side Pies, an Austin-based pizza company suggested she bottle it. Ulmer agreed and moved the lemonade production from her family’s kitchen to a small commercial kitchen.

Now BeeSweet Lemonade is sold in 12-ounce bottles of freshly squeezed lemonade with flavors such as original mint, ginger, prickly pear and iced tea. They can be found in Whole Foods Market and several stores and currently are in 20 states.


Photo: Ian Kasnoff.

In 2016, BeeSweet sold more than 300,000 bottles of lemonade. She scored an $11M deal with 55 Whole Foods stores that year too, per the Daily Mail and she also recently closed to get her products into Wegman’s grocery chain.


“I want a BeeSweet Lemonade line, like the Hello Kitty line,” Mikaila said a few years back. “I want BeeSweet everything.” She’s getting close to her wishes.

Since launching in 2015, Ulmer has spoken at Google, and appeared in numerous outlets including CNBC, Essence, Microsoft and has appeared on The Real and other TV and radio shows.

photo: Ian Kasnoff.

photo: Ian Kasnoff.


While not being an all A student, Ulmer has speaking engagements that take her world-wide.  Her family travel with her and turn the gigs into mini -vacations, one report on Microsoft’s blog noted given they all make biz work and have little downtime.

Ulmer wants to become a serial entrepreneur and become a coder.

Wow! This little girl is inspirational and is certainly going places. So many lessons to be learned by her success!


Lead Photo: courtesy Houston Texan/Charlotte Carpenter

A Real Life Look at How Incarceration Impacts Parenting

prison sentence

There have been efforts in the last few years of the current administration to release people imprisoned for life for minor drug offenses. In recent times, more people are accepting that drug addiction is indeed a health crisis, despite the fact that drug addicts voluntarily enter the path that leads to their addiction. Irrespective of how they get here, many laws and policies are moving towards getting people clean and sober for the benefit of their children as well.

We see more empathy towards drug addicts.

Equally, people incarcerated for selling drugs for life too are deserving of second chances for the benefit of their children as well. This is true, especially when their crimes are non-violent and a life sentence is entirely too harsh a consequence for drug selling, many agree.

This excerpt from a column that senior White House official Valerie Jarrett penned in Medium provides a snapshot look into the life of one daughter who is missing the benefit of growing up with a father. Please Read:

In 1996, when Daryl Atkinson was 25 years old, he was sentenced to 10 years at a state prison for a first-time nonviolent drug offense. Daryl ended up serving 40 months due to good behavior, but for Daryl, those months were critical for building his relationship with his daughter — and he missed out on them completely.

“When I was sentenced, my daughter was just two years old. Where I was incarcerated, the setting where we would get to meet with visitors wasn’t at all conducive to building a parent-child relationship. The meeting room was cold and sterile, not at all fit for doing the things that fathers do with their babies, like playing with toys or reading to them.”

“And even when I was released, it took about a year for me to get back on my feet. I faced a number of consequences from my incarceration that set me back — including not being eligible for federal student aid. By the time I felt I had some stability, I had missed out on some key years in developing my relationship with my daughter.”

After being released, Daryl was determined to turn his life around. He obtained a degree in Political Science, and went on to obtain his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Daryl now serves as the Second Chance Fellow at the Department of Justice, where he specializes on reentry reform issues, including policies that help facilitate the parent-child relationship of currently and formerly incarcerated parents.

“The reality is that a parent’s incarceration has an incredible impact on the life outcomes for their child. Not only are children of incarcerated parents affected by the day-to-day issues that come from being more likely to live in an disadvantaged community with less access to resources but there’s also the potential for juvenile justice and delinquency issues that come from lacking strong parental bonds.”

Today, Daryl is a father of two daughters, and he never forgets what his second chance means for his daughters.

“I now have a daughter who’s 4 years old. Being at home with her every day gives me a chance to appreciate the experiences that I missed out on while I was incarcerated with my first daughter. It grounds me to think of the profound impact that my incarceration experience must have had on her. Her dad just wasn’t around. I think about that every day.”

There are 2.2 million people behind bars in America today — and more than 5 million children have a parent who is currently incarcerated or has been incarcerated in the past.

Mass incarceration doesn’t impact just the people behind bars — it has consequences for both families and communities.

A parent with a criminal record can face a tough time securing a job, putting strain on a family’s ability to provide basic necessities to children. The stress of incarceration on a family can have further negative impacts on children — and some studies have shown that children of parents who have been incarcerated are more likely to enter the criminal justice system themselves.

President Obama knows that supporting individuals who have paid their debt to society is good for families and it’s good for our economy.

This is why President Obama has worked to reduce the barriers that people with criminal records face when they reintegrate into society. He’s announced new grants to help returning citizens take advantage of their second chance through education, job training, housing, legal help, and children’s services. He’s taken action to “ban the box” so that applicants with criminal records can have a shot at the majority of federal jobs.

Following President Obama’s lead are a number of employers, educators, and advocacy groups across the country that have stepped up to highlight challenges that incarcerated parents and their families face. For example, Google recently launched the #LoveLetters effort, an awareness campaign that highlights the impacts on children of incarcerated parents. There are also efforts founded and run by children of incarcerated individuals such as POPS the Club and ScholarChips aimed at providing peer-to-peer support and resources.

We support these efforts wholeheartedly.

Irrespective of where one falls on the political spectrum, not too many can fault efforts to re-connect children with their dads. The evidence about the impact of paternal absenteeism is in and the outcome grim. Let’s support active parenting from all angles and all sources, shall we?

STUDY: Childcare exceeds College Tuition in Most States

childcare bellyitchblog.com

And in “No Kidding, Sherlock” news, a recent report indicates that the cost of childcare exceeds college in most states.

An Economic Policy Institute analysis,  “High Quality Child Care Is Out of Reach for Working Families,” found that child care is not affordable for 2-children median-income households in 10 major metropolitan areas — and is too expensive for minimum wage workers regardless of where they live in the United States.

Childcare costs exceeded rent in 500 out of 618 family budget areas, the study analyzed.

In San Francisco, for example, monthly rent on average is $1,956 for two adults and two children, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The average monthly cost of child care for two children in the city is $901. In Binghamton, N.Y., average monthly rent for the same size family is $692 while the average child care cost is $2,011 a month.

This expenditure impacts households of the nearly 11 million children under five in America in child care. These children spend an average of 35 hours a week in day care.

The Institute intends for the report to influence policy makers.

“As policymakers look for ways to improve living standards for the vast majority of Americans who have endured decades of stagnant wages, increasing child care affordability is an excellent place to start,” the report states.

Indeed, President Obama  addressed child care in his State of the Union address this year.

“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than eve,” he said. “It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”

Read the entire report HERE!


h/t ABC News

President Obama: America should join other industrialized nations and require paid maternity leave

President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States should join the rest of the industrialized world and offer paid leave for mothers of newborns.
“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth — now that’s a pretty low bar,” Obama said at the White House Summit on Working Families. “That, we should be able to take care of.”
The president is touting paid maternity in the midst of a midterm election campaign focused on women voters, without describing the details of how he would fund such a system. “If France can figure this out, we can figure this out,” Obama said.
While some companies offer paid family leave to attract workers, the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act only requires that employers provide unpaid leave for medical and family reasons.
Obama praised California, Rhode Island and New Jersey for creating a state benefit. But he has not endorsed legislation that would create a similar national system funded by a payroll tax, and he pledged in his 2008 presidential campaign not to raise taxes on families making under $250,000 a year.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., has introduced legislation that would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave through a fund in the Social Security Administration, paid for by contributions from employees and employers of 0.2 percent of wages. She said she has personally encouraged the president to back it, despite his tax pledge.
“We’re talking about 2 cents of every $10,” she said in an interview at the summit. She said without such a fund, eight out of 10 workers can’t take advantage of their right for family leave because they can’t afford it.
Obama instituted six weeks of paid leave for White House staff when they have a child, get sick or injured or need to care for an ailing family member, using his authority to set his staff’s compensation under the personnel code. He does not have the power to award paid leave to other federal workers without congressional action since they are covered under a different section of law. The White House has supported the goal of legislation introduced by lawmakers to change that, but it has stalled in Congress.
“There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us,” Obama said. “And that is not the list you want to be on — on your lonesome. It’s time to change that.”
Obama took four working parents out to lunch at Chipotle before his speech and after met with business leaders with family-friendly policies. He encouraged other employers to have more flexible work schedules and directed federal agencies to expand flexible work arrangements where possible. He also urged Congress to pass legislation requiring employers to accommodate pregnant employees so they can continue to perform their jobs.
The president personalized the issues by talking about the struggles of his single mother and the challenges that he and his wife, Michelle, had when their children were young, even though they were fortunate to have benefits many workers don’t enjoy.
The president acknowledged he left his wife to carry the heaviest child care burdens while he worked and campaigned. He said he’s now lucky to “live above the store, so to speak,” so he can have dinner with his family most nights, and he points out his daughters were older when he became president. “I never had to meet a world leader with Cheerios stuck to my pants,” he joked.
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