Young Entrepreneurs Program

Did you know that 72 percent of high school students say they want to start their own business someday? Student-powered ventures are popping up across the country because this generation is eager to make a difference.

Join us on Saturday, October 3, for a virtual event as top young entrepreneurs from across the country share their wins, insights and key learnings with the aim of helping other youth start or grow their business.

We're teaming up with business sensation Mikaila Ulmer, 16-year-old founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade, author of the new book “Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid,” and one of TIME magazine’s Top 30 Most Influential Teens to host the event. Mikaila will moderate a panel of youth speakers from Rebel Ventures, Growing Leaders, Green Garden Bakery and Roots for the Home Team.

The online event is free and open to the public and all event attendees will receive a copy of “The Kidpreneur’s Guide to Building Your Own Buzziness Plan,” a key excerpt from Mikaila’s new book. Ten randomly selected attendees will also receive a gift bag that includes a signed copy of Mikaila’s book, as well as products and recipes from the panelists’ organizations.

2020 Pilot Grant Recipients

In September 2020, we announced the recipients of our first Young Entrepreneurs Pilot Grants aimed at supporting youth-led business programs that are improving the way kids eat through gardening, plant-forward cooking or nutrition education. The two grant recipients received a combined total of $33,000 to help grow their programs.

Growing Leaders in Berkeley, CA

Growing Leaders develops a college and career pathway for students from middle school through high school through gardening, cooking and food production. At Willard Middle School, students run a farm-to-fork business, producing bi-monthly meals for sale to the community. As part of The Berkeley Technology Academy Entrepreneurship Program, high school students deepen job readiness skills through the development and testing of their own food businesses.

Rebel Ventures in Philadelphia, PA

Entirely student-run, this nonprofit food enterprise creates healthy and delicious products for the School District of Philadelphia Food Services and other area schools, while also inspiring and mentoring younger grades and equipping them with grant funding to be healthy food champions in their schools.

Green Garden Bakery in Minneapolis, MN

This group of young entrepreneurs grows vegetables in their community garden, bakes them into healthy vegetable-based desserts and markets them through sustainable practices. Their creations are sold for a profit with a portion of proceeds invested back into the community. Their program also creates youth empowerment opportunities for younger generations to follow their footsteps in their Heritage Park neighborhood. Learn more here.

Austin Montessori School in Austin, TX

The school’s Center for Work offers middle school students hands-on business experience through micro-economy projects using the bounty from the school’s on-site student-led garden and beehive, as well as partnerships with local restaurants to create valued-added products and run a monthly on-site cafe. Products include their herb bottles, popcorn seasoning, beeswax lip balm and honey.

Roots for the Home Team in Minneapolis, MN

Roots for the Home Team employs teens from various garden-based educational programs around Minneapolis and St. Paul to “find their roots” and hone their leadership skills by developing and selling salads at professional sports venues, including the Minnesota Twins’ stadium at Target Field. Much of the produce for the salads is grown by the teens in their garden programs.

School Food Matters

School Food Matters’ Schools to Market program leads kids through the full farm to market experience throughout the course of the school year, deepening their knowledge of food production and selling. Students visit a local farm to harvest produce, turn it into a chutney or jam, conduct market research in their local Whole Foods Market store, develop marketing to sell their products, and finally sell them in a capstone market day.

Parent Resources for Young Entrepreneurs

Learn how to support and encourage young entrepreneurial spirit. Get tips from D'Andra and Theo Ulmer, parents of 16-year-old business sensation and founder of Austin-based Me & the Bees Lemonade, Mikaila Ulmer, get the inside scoop from Veronica Robinson, mom and chief supporter of MasterChef Junior finalist, Evan Robinson and more!

Additional Resources

Congrats to the #WholeKidsBiz winners!

The #WholeKidsBiz Sweepstakes was the first step in determining interest and support needed to help young entrepreneurs and school business programs and helped guide our pilot grant program. From garden-fresh produce to plant-based meals to recipes to get kids cooking, meet the next generation of young entrepreneurs helping to change the way kids eat.