Think back to when we were younger and a new adult entered our lives.  We would be asked:  “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  While this seems to be a good conversation starter, it really trains us to think of a job-specific path.  

Let’s change the narrative, and instead ask ourselves:  “What problems and issues do I want to solve?” Entrepreneurs ask themselves this question as they begin their enterprises.

The path forward to address climate change, racial inequalities, and economic injustices will require young people to look at our individual talents and ask: “What can I do now to make the world a better place?”   As a 16-year-old serial entrepreneur, I am working to change the way we educate youth. I am spending my life creating more access and equity in our education system so that all young people can be equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset.

My advocacy work has been born out of necessity.  My perspective and experience validate the need to expand and reform our public education offerings. My Southern California school has few pathways, courses, programs, or extracurriculars for students interested in business and entrepreneurship.  For this reason, I have paved my own path that looks different from those offered in my community, wanting to help future students do the same.

Entrepreneurs are people who create new businesses, products, services or find ways to improve what currently exists. Entrepreneurs have the courage to try something different and solve problems in new ways. They look in their community for ways to make positive and lasting changes. It starts with YOU.

Entrepreneurship can take many forms. It is commonly believed that it requires capital and big ideas to become an entrepreneur.  I am here to tell you that it really starts with each of us evaluating how we can use our gifts, talents and passions to make the world a better place.  

What are you passionate about?  What are your skills?  Can you sketch a product that could reduce our reliance on single-use items?  

Can you use your voice on platforms to encourage others to upcycle and reuse, rather than discard?  Are you able to create an app that can crowdsource data or information?  Think about how you can merge your passions and talents to make our world a healthier, more sustainable place.

I began my entrepreneurial journey when I was 11 years old. As a young entrepreneur, I noticed there was a need for an eco-friendly, portable spice kit. So, I created a product that could fill this need. Spice It Up, is a company that sells travel spice kits that are portable and affordable. The kit is reusable, waterproof and lightweight, perfect for all scooting adventures.

At age 13, I launched my second business: Bright Futures Tutoring & Academic Coaching. I noticed that many sixth-graders were struggling with the increased homework and study skills demands of middle school, and I realized I could help.

I created a business to support families and students by equipping them with study skills, organizational strategies and academic assistance. As my business rapidly expanded, I realized I needed help. I now hire and manage a team of employees who have served over 15 students.

My advice for anyone looking to start a business would be to find your passion. Do it for YOU. Not for your parents or a college application. But for you and your future, so the organization will see that passion. They will feel your fire, and it will be beneficial for everyone.

If my story has taught you anything is that if you can dream it - you can do it. As humans, we are taught to doubt ourselves and compare ourselves to others. But in reality, we are FAR more similar to one another than we are different. We all strive to make our world a better place. But it starts with uplifting each other. It starts with showing up. Thus, it starts with thinking like an entrepreneur.

If you remember anything from my story, remember this; entrepreneurs look for a need in their community. They ask themselves how they can make a difference. I encourage you to do the same things. Find your passion. Show up. Because if there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it's that we should support and uplift each other.

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