By Aaron Wilson
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) 12-year-old Mikaila Ulmer, founder of “Me & The Bees” lemonade has a few new investors to add to her growing company. Two former football stars are now onboard to help Mikaila continue to build her empire.
Retired from the NFL, former Texans Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster looks for strategic investments.
And Foster liked the idea of getting involved with Me & The Bees Lemonade, a startup company founded by a budding businesswoman, 12-year-old Mikaila Ulmer. Ulmer has appeared on Shark Tank and Good Morning America.
“She’s so humble,” Foster said 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.”
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. The product, which includes several flavors, is sold at Whole Foods, Wegman’s and other local storees.
A total of $810,00 has been invested through Foster along with Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin, Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown, former Texans running back Jonathan Grimes, other NFL players, including safety Omar Bolden, linebacker Bobby Wagner, cornerback Darius Slay, cornerback Sharrick McManis, quarterback EJ Manuel, defensive tackle Malik Jackson, SVP vice president Nick Martin and financial planner Lameck “Humble” Lukanga.
“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 helpnig 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.”
The company wants to increase distribution while also saving bees.
“Of course, anytime you invest in anything you look at if it’s going to be profitable,” Foster said. “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. It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small black businesses is extremely important.”
Ulmer signed up for two youth entrepreneur events when she was four and has continued to educate herself about the business world.
“She’s super smart,” Quin said. “She’s very special. Obviously, she has a bright future. Hopefully, I can be a part of it and nourish it and watch her grow. The sky is the limit. I’m very impressed with her.”