One of Austin’s most interesting founders is one of its youngest.
Mikaila Ulmer became an unlikely star when she landed a pitch for her grandma’s lemonade recipe with ABC’s “Shark Tank” when she was 10 years old in 2015. Ulmer secured a $60,000 investment and kept pushing forward, landing a pivotal deal to have her Me & the Bees Lemonade sold in Whole Foods.
She attracted a lot of attention for donating some of her profits to to international groups saving honeybees. And her lemonade continues to draw new fans — and investors. Ulmer’s startup received investment from at least 10 NFL players, including Arian Foster, Glover Quin, Duane Brown, Jonathan Grimes, Omar Bolden, Bobby Wagner, Darius Slay, Sherrick McManis, EJ Manuel and Malik Jackson, according to NBC Sports.
And she even introduced then-President Barack Obama.
Now, she’s continuing to inspire others in her generation — and those younger and older — to follow their dreams and pursue entrepreneurial paths. Ulmer will keynote the all-day Startup Chica Conference, which is hosted by the Austin-based nonprofit Latinitas, on Saturday, Oct. 14.
The event is for girls ages 9 to 18, and it offers ways to learn about turning an idea into an organization that solves social issues with apps and other technologies. Many of Austin’s top female startup founders — as well as major tech company sponsors — will be on hand. (You can learn more about them in this Medium post.)
“Blacks and Latinos have always been entrepreneurial,” Latinitas Founder and CEO Laura Donnelly said in a news release. “At Latinitas, we are enlightening young Latinas and other girls to their existing entrepreneurial DNA and will also have a workshop for parents explaining the same because for some families, encouraging their daughters to be entrepreneurial is as risky-sounding as being a writer or an artist.”
Pitch judges include Mark Sanders, director of transportation and mobility at the Austin Technology Incubator; Luis Rodriguez, president & CEO of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Nelly Garcia, co-founder of Rocheli Patisserie; and Maria Peña, co-owner of Donn’s Bar-B-Que.
The event takes place at Capital Factory near 7th and Brazos downtown.