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Young entrepreneur shares her 'sweet' story with Buffalo school kids

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Students at the Martin Luther King School in Buffalo were inspired Friday by an 11-year-old Texas girl who is having huge success with her own lemonade brand. WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley has her story.

Mikaila Ulmer looked like any other 6th grader wearing a bright pink top with yellow bow in her hair.

At the age of four, Ulmer founded BeeSweet Lemonade and is now CEO. The young entrepreneur won on ABC's Shark Tank, earning a $60,000 investment for her product.  

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer of Texas is the founder & CEO of BeeSweet Lemonade. Her mother is from Buffalo.

"It was pretty nerve-racking. It was an awesome experience," said Ulmer.

Ulmer created BeeSweet while enrolled in youth entrepreneur program and after she was stung by two bees in one week.

"My great-granny Helen sent me a 1940s cookbook with her favorite recipe of flaxseed lemonade in it and I didn't like the bees at all, so my parents encouraged me to do some research on them. I did that research and I found out how incredibly important pollinators they are and that they are dying," said Ulmer.   

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
BeeSweet Lemonade

Some of the proceeds of the sale of her lemonade goes to help bees.

Ulmer's mother, D'Andra Ulmer, is originally from Buffalo. Her grandmother and uncle still live here.

"I think that the passion is inside of her," said Ulmer's mother. 

The 6th grader has the wisdom and business sense of any successful CEO. She told local students to passionate and work hard in school. 

"So school is one of the most important things that you have to stay in in order to be a successful entrepreneur," noted Ulmer.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
MLK students asked questions to the young CEO.

MLK students said they thought Ulmer was great and enjoyed her presentation "Bee the Change." The students asked thoughtful questions from the use of the logo to meeting the Obamas and her hopes to travel abroad some day.

MLK Principal Ramona Reynolds attended Buffalo's Performing Arts School with Ulmer's mother in the 1980s. They are best friends.

Reynolds wanted to bring in Ulmer's daughter as a positive role model to teach students what they can achieve with their passion.

"I wanted them to see a kid who looks like them, who comes from a mom from the city of Buffalo and if you work hard, you can be successful, just like Mikaila," said Reynolds.

This is the final year for the MLK School. It is part of the Buffalo School District's phase-out plan for underperforming schools.

Ulmer tells WBFO she's working to make BeeSweet national or international and add more flavors to her current four.  


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