6-Year-Old Annapolis Entrepreneur Honored As Rising Star

By Shanteé Woodards
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

Shauna Hunt can’t go anywhere in Annapolis without someone asking her about The Little Boss.

That nickname belongs to her daughter, Makenzee Adams, who gained the title after vowing to take over her grandparents’ business one day.

On Facebook, grandmother Phyllis Adams has made The Little Boss a local celebrity by writing about how she coordinated an event for the homeless and raised money for families battling cancer. Later this month, a Prince George’s County business organization will name Makenzee its Legacy Rising Star/Young Entrepreneur awardee.

Makenzee is 6 years old, the youngest to receive the award.

“It can be overwhelming at times, but it’s great that this is her passion,” Hunt said. “There’s nothing she’s done that we’ve made her do. She comes home with these ideas and we just run with it.”

On Oct. 25, EPNet (Entrepreneur & Professionals Network) will host its annual Legacy Awards Ball at National Harbor. More than a dozen awards will be given to individuals who have been nominated for various standards of entrepreneurship.

Makenzee’s award normally goes to young people who already have a business, but this year they wanted to honor those who have the drive to run a business in the future, organizers said.

In August, Makenzee hosted a back to school event at the Mt. Olive Community Center that raised about $1,000 for 12 area families battling cancer. Also over the summer, she helped distribute T-shirts to the homeless at the Lighthouse Shelter.

“I like being kind to others and I like helping out the Earth, because that’s how I was born,” said Makenzee, a first grader at Walter S. Mills Parole Elementary School.

Makenzee has been raised in the family business, Light it Up with Triple A. Through that venture, her grandparents offer lighting services for weddings, parties and other events.

Before starting school, Makenzee spent her days with her grandmother who taught her to answer the phone professionally. Since age 4, she has answered her grandparents phone with the same mantra — “thank you for calling the Adams residence. This is Makenzee. How can I help you?”

That was how Makenzee answered the phone when EPNet vice president Charles L. Brown Jr. called to speak with Phyllis Adams about Light it Up with Triple A. He was surprised to learn Makenzee’s age and went on Adams’ Facebook page to read up about The Little Boss. He discussed her with his wife, Theresa Royal Brown.

“We just thought she was the perfect child this year to receive this award,” said Royal Brown, president of EPNET. “She is truly older than her years. She’s been on this earth before.”

Grandmother Phyllis Adams also likes event planning and said Makenzee may get that trait from her. But she and Hunt also noticed Makenzee seems to know when other people are feeling down and tries to find ways to help.

“She’s always had the heart to help people,” Phyllis Adams said. “I’m very proud of her (but) I’m more proud of the heart she has for other people.”

The family will take a trip to Japan to visit a relative in the future and Makenzee plans to launch and orange juice stand to fund it. She has also thought about what she wants to be when she grows up.

“My Pop Pop told me I have to do something that uses my brain more than my hands,” Makenzee said. “But I was thinking that since I love to cook and I love to get messy with my hands, I thought I would be a pizza chef.”

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