Young Entrepreneur Helps Her Neighbors Go Green

By Kristine Goodrich The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the 11-year-old entrepreneur who is building a business that is having a true impact on her community and the world.

Mankato

Evie Bottner has gathered 555 pounds of moldy avocados, maggot-infested watermelon rinds and other rotting fare.

"It's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen," the Mankato 11-year-old says. But Evie plans to keep up the repugnant task until the snow starts to fly.

She's not only helping the environment. She's also getting a taste of small-business ownership.

The soon-to-be sixth grader at Dakota Meadows Middle School is president of Green Growth. She started her own company in May helping her neighbors recycle their food waste.

For $15 a month, Evie supplies customers with a food-collection jar and comes to their doorsteps daily to collect their scraps. She transfers the organics to a larger container at her home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, cleans her customers' containers and returns them to their doors.

Once a week mom Stephanie Drago Bottner helps Evie take her collection to the organics recycling drop-off site at Sibley Park.

That is one of the few ways mom helps with her daughter's entrepreneurial endeavor free of charge.

"I didn't want this to be my job after a week," Stephanie said.

Evie said she decided she wanted to use her extra free time during the pandemic to do something to help the environment. Earning some extra spending money was an added bonus.

Stephanie agreed to be the sole investor in her daughter's company -- after hearing a business plan presentation complete with computer slideshow and a logo Evie designed.

Evie paid back the $201 loan and interest -- which she used to buy food containers, compostable bags and other supplies -- in two months. She expected it would take a little longer to turn a profit but exceeded her projections with seven customers.

"I thought I'd only get five or six," she said.

She went door to door with flyers to recruit her customers, who all live within a short bike ride from her house.

"It's only $15 a month, which is about as much as a Hulu subscription, and you are helping the environment," she wrote in her flyer, which also educated prospective customers about what food and paper products they can and cannot compost.

Evie sets two alarms to ensure she does not forget her daily 4 p.m. pickup time. When she is not at home, she hires a friend or her mom to fill in.

There has been one snafu in Evie's first business venture. The first two sets of containers she purchased for customers broke or leaked as she brought them back to her house to empty and clean. With a little help from mom, she was able to obtain refunds and find a more durable replacement.

Evie plans to continue collections for a few more months before taking the winter off.

"I just don't want to be biking in the snow," she said.

The young entrepreneur has not decided how she will spend her profits.

She might save them until next spring to loan to franchisees. She already has one friend interested in bringing Green Growth to another Mankato neighborhood.

Prospective franchisees and Lincoln Park neighborhood residents interested in becoming customers until the snow comes can text Evie at 507-420-9027. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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