Pause: Love and lemonade

This week I just happened to read a very inspiring article in from 2014 that I want to share with you:

How did a 9-year old, Mikaila Ulmer of Sugar Land, TX, beat out the conglomerate giants such as Kraft, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble to land coveted shelf space and a million dollar contract with Whole Foods?

Her precocious response? “I don’t know? Do they make theirs with love?”

Her company, Bee Sweet Lemonade, is the beginning of a Lemonade empire in which the idea came from when she was stung by bees when she was just 4 years old — twice in one week.

“After that I would freak out about the bees — like overreact — and then my parents wanted me to do some research so I would be less afraid. And doing that research I found out how incredibly important pollinators they are, and that they were dying,” Mikaila said. “And I decided to create a product that helped save the bees.”

She dug up an old lemonade recipe from her great-grandmother’s cookbook, and added honey — her way of calling attention to the plight of honeybees.

Beekeepers have reported losing 42 percent of their colonies in the past year. That’s the second highest annual loss on record.

Scientists suspect pesticides may be behind the decline, which could threaten our food supply, since bees pollinate crops.

“The pesticides either get into their brain and they can’t find their way back to the hive, or they have the pollen with the pesticides and they feed it to the hive and then the whole hive dies,” Mikaila said.

She and her family started brewing BeeSweet for local events, then bottling it for a pizza shop. Within a few years they had a company on their hands.

“We donate a portion of the profits we make to organizations that help the bees,” Mikaila said.

Some kids her age might not want to give any of their money away, but she’s okay with it.

“It’s solving a problem in this world. That’s what keeps me motivated to do it,” she said. Whole Foods Market heard about her efforts to save the bees and is now selling her lemonade in 32 stores across four states.

“She’s asking questions about logistics, what retail prices should be, or margins. She’s incredibly sharp,” Whole Foods’ Erin Harper said.

Mikaila’s family helps her run the growing business that is now on track this year to sell nearly 140,000 bottles.

Even with all this work, Mikaila’s parents try to give her time to be a 10-year-old.

“Every weekend she does something that she enjoys. It may be rollerblading this weekend, sleepover this weekend. You create a balance because she is working as hard as she is playing,” her mom said.

Mikaila said BeeSweet will debut two new flavors this summer. She said seeing so many people buying and enjoying her lemonade makes her want to grow her business even more. So her work continues, with hopes to create a little more buzz for the bees.

Visit Mikaila’s site and show support: Bee Sweet Lemonade (


The above article can be found at: thank the authors! Now for the update!

If you can’t quite imagine what a great achievement this is, look up It’s a huge supermarket chain across most of America, and its logo is “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.”

Today I did a little research to find out what Mikaila is up to since the article was written, and learned on her Facebook page (technology!) that this amazing entrepreneur, who is now 11 years old, visited the White House last month for Easter 2016… as a celebrity chef! I also learned today that in early May they’re relaunching the company with a new name, “Me and the Bees Lemonade.” Stay tuned!

Mikaila’s company is so busy with orders now, she’s kindly asked her customers to please bee patient, as they have such big demand for their products in recent weeks, they’re running a little beehind in delivery times. Mikaila signs her note “Love and lemonade…”

Wow! We wish her all the best.


Image Credit: Josh Huskin: Photo

by 21 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

21 thoughts on “Pause: Love and lemonade

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    The next great entrepreneur might be in your home, but it might not be you… It could be one of your children! It’s important to encourage, support, and nurture the gifts of children. They might be the next great entrepreneur, or scientist, or athlete, or artist, or musician, or Pastor. Whatever it is, help them to bring it out; it’s a gift to Africa, and the world.

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    My grandmother once told me that the reason babies are born with their little hands tightly clenched is so they don’t drop their gift to the world. This is one “old lady’s tale” I choose to believe: the solution to every problem we have is in our children. We must do everything we can to protect them, and ensure they get an education, and develop skills to contribute of their gift to the world.

  3. Ronald Koech

    She is a good entrepreneur. She still has her cool despite achieving so much at her age. Many kids can go the same part but there are challenges especially in Africa where we resist what our own people has to offer. The Whole Food chose her over the big companies. The corruption in Africa will not let a young girl like that to be chosen over the giants simply because she has nothing to offer to the hungry ‘dogs’. We as Africans should learn to help and build the products from our produce. Read a story of Kevian Industries in Kenya

  4. Innocent mupandasekwa

    I wish to start a commercial private security. How best can i secure lucrative contracts ? I have the i dear but mo capital to start, could you help me with ideas

  5. Chiedza Mutandwa

    Dear Mr Masiyiwa

    In our African culture, we are raised to believe that one should go to school and end up working in 4 fields; Business, Medicine, Law and Technology ,for the purpose of earning a high salary and uplifting the family financially.

    So, in the end one may neglect their dream of becoming an actress, journalist etc.

    How can young people deal with this issue without defying their parents, especially in an economically unstable country like Zimbabwe?

  6. Victor Gohodo

    The little Girl’s Story Is Pretty Inspiring, An 11 Year Old Doing Such Wonders, Truly They Is No Limit To What Somebody Is Capable Of, Maybe We Should Put These Idea Into An African Setup And Be The Best We Can Be.. Motivated By Hunger And Pain I Believe The Zimbabwean Child Would Be The Next Bill Gates Or Better If We Would Only Realise What We Are Capable Of.. #DreamChaser

  7. Darlington

    The only disease we have in Africa as a whole is the fear of having a colleague rising to the top.We should learn to embrace any idea that may come from almost anything that way we will find ourself to the top

  8. Clemence Masokoya

    Amazing! Mikaila is such a genius. Indeed she’s a marvel. Thank you so much Sir for this inspiring piece.

  9. Clemence Masokoya

    Amazing! Mikaila is such a genius. Indeed she’s a marvel. Thank you so much Sir for this inspiring piece. Clemence Masokoya


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *