High Schooler Gives Kids a Taste of Entrepreneurship in the Bakery Business

A high school junior in Long Island, New York, has developed an innovative learning program to help children discover their own entrepreneurial streak through baking, cupcakes, teamwork and fun.

Seventeen-year-old Kailey Perkins, who attends the Chapin School, cooked up the Young Entrepreneur Scholars program to give middle school kids in underserved New York communities a taste of what’s involved in entrepreneurship by starting a bake shop filled with delicious goodies.

Related: Wofford College social entrepreneurs plant a SEED. for global change

Motivating children has been easy despite the pandemic, Perkins said. “When you offer fun activities, like starting a bakery, kids are open to learning anything, even fractions,” she laughed. “We’re proud that 250 students have completed both our in-person program and virtual sessions during the pandemic.”

Kailey Perkins, founder of Young Entrepreneur Scholars

Giving back isn’t new for Perkins, who was volunteering to assist the elderly at 10 years old. “With the support of my mom (Leslie), charitable work has always been super-important to me,” she said. That’s why she began thinking about starting her own nonprofit. “I didn’t know what type of charity I wanted to organize, then it struck me. I loved to bake and work with children, so why not combine baking with some key ingredients needed to start a new business?”

Perkins threw herself into the project, developing a fun, interactive team curriculum covering a variety of topics, such as brainstorming, logo creation, pricing, advertising, community PR and market research, plus a dash of math to calculate bakery costs.

Next, she created and assembled colorful totes with supplies needed for a bakery start-up, including opportunities for creative expression: a chef’s apron ready for decorating; fabric magic markers; a bountiful supply of stickers; packages of icing and food coloring; and homemade sugar cookies, candies and sprinkles for decorating. Every child also receives a Young Entrepreneur Scholars Certificate of Completion and a surprise gift.

Related: This 12-year-old entrepreneur uses bowties to help shelter animals get adopted

While Young Entrepreneur Scholars focuses on underserved communities, Perkins has also been invited to teach the program as part of educational offerings at other organizations, including Southampton Fresh Air Fund, Little Flowers and Encourage Kids. “The kids enjoyed the activities so much that all they talked about was the designs on their aprons and whose cookies looked and tasted the best, and two members are interested in opening their own business,” one fan of the program said.

Perkins said Young Entrepreneur Scholars is poised for continued growth. “It means so much to see children having fun working together and learning on Zoom, so we’ll be continuing the program throughout the school year,” she said. “We may even start sending totes to various organizations nationwide and conducting our sessions virtually.”

Once normalcy returns to New York, she added, “We’ll go back to teaching students how to bake in person, holding bake sales and participating in community activities. For now, we’re thrilled that we can contribute to a child’s education and enjoyment despite COVID-19.”

Leading Angel Investment Group Creates Affiliate Group for Members of Sullivan Foundation Network

VentureSouth, one of the country’s leading angel investment groups, has launched an affiliate group specifically for faculty, staff, alumni and students of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation’s 70 partner colleges and universities across the southeastern U.S.

The group, called VentureSouth Sullivan, is one of 14 angel investment groups and funds operated by VentureSouth, headquartered in Greenville, S.C. With its formation, anyone from the Sullivan Foundation’s partner schools can become a member of the South’s largest and most successful angel network and invest in innovative startup businesses that will drive the region’s economy. Additionally, 25 percent of their annual membership fees will be donated to the Sullivan Foundation. All proceeds will be used to financially support students, faculty and staff from partner schools who participate in the foundation’s events, programming and education initiatives focused on making positive change in their communities.

Members of VentureSouth Sullivan can also donate a percentage of any profits derived from their investments to benefit the Sullivan school of their choice.

Matt Dunbar, a managing director of VentureSouth, is an alumnus of Sullivan Foundation partner school Clemson University and received the 1999 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. “I was fortunate and humbled to be presented the Sullivan Award upon graduating from Clemson, and, through chance, recently reconnected with the foundation,” Dunbar said. “Creating this affiliate group specifically for Sullivan alumni and donating a portion of the annual fees is one way of supporting the Sullivan network of schools and encouraging students to choose a path of service to their communities.”

The 2019 Angel Funders Report, released in July 2019 by the Angel Capital Association, recognized VentureSouth as one of North America’s top 10 angel investment groups based on capital invested by its members in the previous year. VentureSouth was listed alongside some of the largest and most respected angel groups in the U.S. and Canada, including Tech Coast Angels in California; New York Angels and Golden Seeds in New York; and the Central Texas Angel Network.

Since its inception, VentureSouth has invested nearly $50 million in more than 75 companies, with a focus on the Carolinas and adjacent states. Companies in its portfolio include innovators like Altis Biosystems in Chapel Hill, N.C., which specializes in next-generation stem cell technologies designed to make drug discovery faster, cheaper and safer while reducing the need for animal testing; Actived, the Greenville, S.C. developer of a technology platform for movement-based learning—such as walkabouts—to get kids out of their desks and onto their feet as they’re learning language arts and mathematics; and Proterra, an innovative leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission buses that save money on fleet operations while reducing the transportation industry’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Joining VentureSouth Sullivan’s group allows Sullivan alumni to invest in similar early-stage companies with major growth potential. It’s also a chance to make a difference in an economically disadvantaged region of the U.S. VentureSouth’s motto, after all, is “Make Money. Have Fun. Do Good.”

“For VentureSouth members, ‘doing good’ comes from multiple levels of impact created by our investing activity,” Dunbar said. “We know that all net job growth in the economy comes from young companies that grow fast—and which don’t usually have access to other forms of capital—so our investments really help fuel the growth of good jobs and opportunities and wealth creation in our communities.”

“Additionally, many of our portfolio companies are working to solve serious problems in arenas like cancer diagnostics, infant screening, women’s health, public transit and clean energy,” Dunbar added. “So we are helping advance significant efforts to save lives and protect our environment. Lastly, our model allows VentureSouth members to share their experience and wisdom with the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, which creates a wealth of good in the form of passing it down and paying it forward.”

With the new angel group for Sullivan alumni, Dunbar is paying it forward to the Sullivan Foundation as well. “I have to admit that I didn’t know much about the award or the Sullivans before I became a recipient at Clemson,” he said. “But once I had a chance to learn about the history and legacy of the award and its namesake, I was extremely honored and humbled to share the award with such a long line of great servant leaders. Even now I am still challenged and inspired to try to live up to the principles and values it represents.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the VentureSouth Sullivan angel investment group can join an upcoming series of online Q&A sessions in September. The sessions will be held at venturesouth.vc/venturesouth-sullivan at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 1; 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9; and 11 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 17.

Wofford College Student Entrepreneurs Complete Summer Accelerator Program

Five students at Sullivan Foundation partner school Wofford College participated in the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Summer Accelerator program this year and plan to be in business before fall starts.

For eight weeks, students in the program participated in weekly advising meetings, tracked progress and prioritized tasks using global startup accelerator tools, and honed entrepreneurial and critical business skills through workshops, while also gaining industry insight from weekly fireside chats with successful entrepreneurs.

“The program is a phenomenal alternative or even a supplement to a job or internship because it provides a different set of opportunities, experiences and skill development,” said Tyler Senecal, director of entrepreneurial programs at Wofford. “The Summer Accelerator is designed to aid students in expediting the process of launching their companies or business ventures by providing them with key resources, support and structure.”

The cohort for Wofford College’s Summer Accelerator program confer online with program leader Tyler Senecal and Wofford alumnus Matt Kilmartin, CEO of Habu and founder of SummerHub.

This year’s program looked a bit different because of COVID-19, with the five participants taking part remotely. Initially viewed as a disadvantage, virtual engagement allowed students to connect with entrepreneurs across the country, including Joseph McMillin, a 2013 Wofford graduate and CEO of Atlas Organics; Bradley Smith, CEO of AVO Insights; and Meggie Williams, CEO of Skipper.

“The Summer Accelerator program brings together a community of like-minded, driven entrepreneurs on Wofford’s campus and beyond,” said Hannah Brown, an English and Spanish double major from Winston-Salem, N.C. Brown is filling a void in the yoga apparel industry with her start-up Form, a company that produces specialized shoes for going to and from the yoga studio.

Most recently, students logged on for a discussion with Matt Kilmartin, a 1997 Wofford graduate, CEO of Habu and founder of SummerHub, a program that connects college students to “flexternships” at companies. With 15 years in the technology and entrepreneurship space, Kilmartin shared lessons learned and imparted useful advice that student-entrepreneurs could apply to their own start-ups.

“Through our weekly meetings and fireside chats, I’ve learned that being an entrepreneur is more about pursuing a mindset than a strict set of skills,” says Campbell Harmening, a junior finance major from Orlando. “In order to have a meaningful company, you have to identify problems in your community and create solutions.” That’s exactly what Harmening is doing with his start-up, Graduates Garage, a platform for students to exchange goods and services securely on their respective campuses.

Harmening and Brown are working alongside three other student-entrepreneurs in the Summer Accelerator program.

Grace Gehlken, cofounder of SEED., and her mother pose wearing a pair of the social enterprise’s handcrafted Bloom Bracelets.

Grace Gehlken is a junior Spanish and finance double major from Charleston, South Carolina. She is cofounder of a start-up called SEED., a social enterprise venture that sells local and global artisans’ work with a percentage of the profits distributed to nonprofit organizations and community leaders to fund key tools and resources. SEED. was featured in the Fall 2020 issue of the Sullivan Foundation’s Engage magazine, and cofounder Mackenzie Syiem was an attendee of the foundation’s 2019 Social Entrepreneurship Field Trip.

Grace Cromer, a senior business economics major from Anderson, S.C., is developing Grace upon Grace, an adaptive clothing line for special-needs newborns and infants. The line is intended to help parents navigate the complications of caring for children with special needs.

Finance major Zander Dale, a junior from Athens, Ga., is working toward the launch of TripShare. TripShare is a platform that connects like-minded travelers so they can build trips and experiences like never before.

Pioneer of Slow Money Movement Launches Beetcoin to Boost Small, Local Farms

When it comes to funding local farms and food startups, social entrepreneur Woody Tasch believes slow and small wins the race. That’s the principle behind the Slow Money Institute, which Tasch founded in 2009, and his latest initiative, Beetcoin.

The Slow Money Institute connects investors with independent farmers, thus “catalyzing the flow of capital to local food systems, connecting investors to the places where they live and promoting new principles of fiduciary responsibility that ‘bring money back down to earth,’” according the nonprofit’s website.

The institute promotes the formation of self-organizing local groups with a focus on local sustainable farming. The groups host public meetings, on-farm events and pitch events and help facilitate peer-to-peer loans, investment clubs and nonprofit clubs making no-interest loans. According to the website, the institute’s work has generated more than $73 million for 752 food enterprises “in deals large and small.”

this photo shows the family that owns Ollin Farms, a recipient of a SOIL group loan connected to the Slow Money Institute and Beetcoin.

Ollins Farms in Longmont, Colorado, received a zero-percent loan from a local SOIL group.

According to Denver publication 5280.com, Beetcoin, which grew out of the slow money movement, allows individuals “without deep pockets” to invest in locally owned agricultural businesses “committed to doing the right things for the earth.” These small donations from microinvestors are pooled, and the money goes to support  local Slow Money’s SOIL (Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally) groups, which give zero-percent loans to small farmers and startups.

“Our hope is that a large number of people chip in $10, $25, $50,” Tasch told 5280.com. “In the greater scheme of things, it’s small. We hope that, over time, it will grow.”

There are presently five SOIL groups in the U.S.—four in Colorado and one in Virginia. Those five groups thus far have received $1.25 million from 304 members and issued nearly $800,000 in zero-percent loans to 60 agricultural entrepreneurs. There is a membership fee of $250 to join the group, and all members get an equal vote on which projects to fund.

Recipients of loans have included Two Roots Farm in Basalt, Colo.; Ollin Farms in Longmont, Colo.; and Native Hill Farm in Fort Collins, Colo.

pictured are the owners of Two Roots Farm in Colorado, recipient of a loan from a SOIL group connected with the Slow Money Institute

Two Roots Farm, located in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, received a no-interest $7,500 loan from a SOIL group to help purchase materials for a mobile walk-in cooler and a drip-irrigation system.

To receive funding, farmers and food startup owners pitch their projects to the group and explain how they will make a positive impact on local food systems. The loans might be used to pay for a new tractor or a drip irrigation system, whatever is needed to improve the operation. Once the loan is repaid, the money goes back into the pool for future loans. “The money you put in stays in and recirculates indefinitely,” Tasch told 5280.com.

“We’re not kidding about the slow part,” Tasch added. “The idea is to very slowly grow this thing. We’re trying to build a movement of people who see that banding together with your neighbors to invest for the long-term health of the community is important … If we’re going to do what needs to be done in the world today, it’s going to take a lot of small local actions.”

Leading CEOs Propose Roadmap to Building a Purpose-First Economy

A new coalition of global leaders, including the CEOs of Danone, Mahindra, Philips, L’Oreal, and other companies representing a combined annual revenue of over $100 billion and a combined global workforce of over 500,000, have endorsed a roadmap to “build the economic system better,” rather than merely “building it back.”

As Real Leaders magazine reports, the goal of the roadmap is to create an inclusive and sustainable post-COVID economy that benefits society, the planet, and shareholders for generations. In an open letter, the group of 14 CEOs called on governments to accelerate such a transition by recognizing and supporting purpose-first business as an emerging fourth sector of the economy.

The signatories to the letter have also committed to advance the purpose-first economy by leveraging their procurement, innovation, research, development, and investment to accelerate the growth of this critical sector. The letter provides a practical roadmap for proactively redesigning corporate structures and government policies to develop a more supportive ecosystem for organizations that operate under a new business logic. The leaders have urged businesses and governments to join them.

“Our world was a dangerous and troubled place even before COVID-19 took hold,” said Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, who is now working on transforming the structural impediments to sustainable business. “We have the chance to rebuild a fairer, greener society. But to do so, we need courageous business leaders who are willing to act, individually and collectively. It’s why I applaud the signatories of this letter. No company alone can solve the problems we face. But together, we can begin to challenge the orthodoxies which got us here. Together we can help the world change.”

Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, said: “Today, more than ever, the world needs to reimagine a new future, a future in which people can feel safe and protected. The initiative being set in motion by Leaders on Purpose is an effort toward defining the new environment. It provides a much-needed aspirational framework that can change the language of business discourse and how we regard the future. This philosophy resonates deeply with Mahindra’s vision and has the potential to become a movement that will define the future for generations.”

The group’s diverse community includes corporate leaders from across the globe, including Ajay Banga (Mastercard); Alan Murray (Fortune Media); Anand Mahindra (Mahindra Mahindra); Dan Hendrix (Interface); Dylan Taylor (Voyager Space Holdings); Emmanuel Faber (Danone); Feike Sijbesma (DSM); Frans van Houten (Philips); Dr. James Mwangi (Equity Bank); Jean-Paul Agon (L’Oreal); John Denton (ICC); Mike Doyle (Omnicom-Ketchum); Roberto Marques (Natura & Co.); and Stefan De Loecker (Beiersdorf).

While governments around the world debate economic and social policies designed to jumpstart their economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Build it Better” framework includes six key imperatives for public and private sector leaders to guide innovation of public policy as well as corporate and financial structures to accelerate the progress of the purpose-first economy. These imperatives include:

  • Recognize the purpose-first sector.
  • Carefully craft incentives and policies.
  • Incentivize innovations of financial products, risk assessment, valuation models, and ratings.
  • Design for a safe, educated, and healthy society.
  • Leave no one behind.
  • Enable a supportive ecosystem.

Feike Sijbesma, honorary chairman of DSM, said: “The private sector needs an integrated strategy and supportive ecosystem that integrates more fairness, less dependency, more climate and sustainability focus, preparedness, and agility for uncertain times. We each have to think about the world around us, our role in it, our tremendous potential, and how we can contribute to making it better together.”

About Real Leaders Magazine: Located on the web at real-leaders.com, Real Leaders Magazine is the world’s first sustainable business and leadership magazine. Real Leaders aims to inspire better leaders for a better world, a world of far-sighted, sustainable leadership that helps find solutions to the problems that 7.5 billion people have created on a small planet. Click here to subscribe to Real LeadersFor more Real Leaders video content, check out their Youtube page here.

Entrepreneur Honors Black-Owned Businesses Threatened by COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 40 percent of black-owned businesses in the U.S. have shut down since the COVID-19 pandemic started—a troubling statistic for National Black Business Month, which is celebrated in August. Entrepreneur Mandy Bowman, a leader in the #buyblack movement, wants to celebrate those companies that still remain while making it easier for customers to find them, with the help of digital technology.

Bowman, who majored in entrepreneurship and global business management at Babson College, developed Official Black Wall Street (OBWS), a directory and resource platform highlighting black-owned businesses, in 2015.  She followed up with an app version in 2017, and today it features 6,000 businesses.

OBWS helps users find black-owned businesses in their area ranging from pharmacies to restaurants. Users can also get an alert when they’re near a black-owned business and receive directions and business information about the companies. For a fee, black business owners can get their businesses listed at the top of search results, message their customers directly via the app and offer special discounts and promotions.

this photo shows Imani Ellis at a presentation for the Creative Collective NYC and CultureCon

Imani Ellis, founder of the Creative Collective NYC and CultureCon, is a judge in the first Black Entrepreneur of the Year Awards presented by Official Black Wall Street. (Imani Ellis / Instagram)

Bowman grew up in Brooklyn and saw how gentrification drove a lot of black-owned companies out of business. “That inspired me to go out and support as many black-owned businesses in my community as possible,” she explained to RollingOut. “I created this little spreadsheet, did my own research and found a lot of really dope businesses right in my backyard. I decided I should share this with other people and get them to support [black-owned companies] as well.”

Bowman was startled to learn that, as CBS News reported in June, the coronavirus pandemic knocked hundreds of thousands of black-owned businesses out of commission early in 2020. Research from the University of California at Santa Cruz found that there were more than 1 million black-owned businesses in the U.S. at the beginning of February 2020. By mid-April, 440,000 of those businesses had closed down for good—a decrease of 41 percent. During the same period 17 percent of white-owned businesses closed their doors.

To show support for black-owned businesses, OBWS has partnered with Snapchat to create three cash-based awards in honor of Black Business Month. These include the Official Black Wall Street Entrepreneur of the Year Award, with a cash award of $15,000; the Innovator of the Year Award, offering $10,000; and a $5,000 award for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

Fifteen finalists will be selected by a panel of judges, including Bowman; Brianne Garrett of Forbes; Imani Ellis, director of communications for NBC Universal and founder of The Creative Collective NYC & CultureCon; Courtney Blount of Snap Inc.; and serial entrepreneur Everette Taylor. The finalists will be spotlighted across the OBWS and Snapchat platforms. Winners will be announced on Friday, August 28.

“Our goal is to create more opportunities to support black-owned businesses,” Bowman said in a press release about the awards. “We’re elated to kick off the awards as one of many initiatives centered around black-owned businesses.”

Camila Coelho Launches Line of Sustainable Beauty Products

As a little girl, Camila Coelho loved playing dress-up with her mom’s cosmetics. Now, at 32, the social media influencer has launched her own line of beauty products, and she went to great effort to incorporate sustainability and responsible sourcing into her business plan.

Coelho, who has 8.8 million followers on Instagram and 4.7 million subscribers on her YouTube channels, recently unveiled Elaluz by Camila Coelho, a line of beauty products with key ingredients sourced from her native Brazil. (Coehlo has noted that “Elaluz” means “she is light” in Portuguese.)

“I’ve always loved beauty, ever since I was a little girl,” she recently told Harper’s Bazaar Arabia (HBA). “Growing up, I have countless memories of myself playing with makeup when I was around four or five years old. When I was six, I asked my grandmother if I could wear her red lipstick for my passport photo. I actually still have that photo.”

After her family moved to Scranton, Penn. in the U.S., Coelho worked at a makeup counter in a department store as a teenager. Before long, she was creating beauty-focused vlogs on YouTube and building a powerhouse brand that evolved from her social-media presence.

Camila Coelho launched her new cosmetics brand, Elaluz, with sustainability, transparency and inclusivity in mind.

“At the time, [social media influencing] was super-new, and I didn’t know that this could become my job,” she said in the HBA interview. “It started out really organically and, in the past few years, I’ve had a successful career on social media by being able to work with all these brands. But my biggest dream has always been to create my own beauty line; it’s been on my mind for a long time. This isn’t something I decided to spontaneously do in the past few years.”

Coelho said she was “100 percent involved” in all aspects of creating the Elaluz brand, “from the packaging to the formulation.”

Sustainability “was super-important to me,” she noted. “I knew right from the start I wanted sustainable packaging for our products and our ingredients to be clean, but I also knew that it was going to be a challenge.”

She said most of Elaluz’s packaging is recyclable or made from reusable materials. “I wanted the packaging to look as luxurious as possible while also being sustainable,” she said. “We had to work a lot on it, but I’m happy we made it happen.”

“When it came to the ingredients, there was a ton of back-and-forth on it as I wanted the formulation to be clean, high-quality and long-lasting. We’re also using a lot of Brazilian ingredients within the products, ingredients derived from fruit and nuts, which was a big priority for me, as I come from Brazil.”

According to the Zoe Report, those ingredients include guarana, buriti fruit oil and cupuacu seed butter, all of which grown naturally in Brazil.

Coelho kicked off the new line with just two products, both available on the brand’s website: 24K Lip Therapy ($28) and Lip & Cheek Stain ($34). “I wanted Elaluz to be a luxury brand, but a mindful luxury brand,” Coelho told the Zoe Report. “A brand that would have inclusivity, sustainability and transparency as our main pillars. A brand that was mindful when it came to ingredients, packaging—everything.”

UK’s Better Nature Becomes World’s First Plastic-Neutral Meat-Alternative Company

Better Nature, a UK-based producer of tempeh, has partnered with rePurpose Global, a plastic credit platform, to become the world’s first plastic-neutral meat-alternative company.

“Due to the relatively complicated food safety aspect of tempeh production, it’s really difficult to remove plastic from its production and packaging,” said Amadeus Driando Ahnan-Winarno, co-founder and head of technology at Better Nature. “It’s something that really frustrates us as a team and we’re constantly working on. We’re particularly looking into how we could use recycled or renewable materials rather than virgin plastic. We’re making progress, but it will take a while to implement, so, in the meantime, offsetting the plastic we produce is a productive step.”

Related: Solving the single-use plastic problem with Emma Rose of FinalStraw

Until the company can reduce its own plastic usage, it’s working with rePurpose Global to contribute to the removal of the same amount of plastic from the environment that it uses. Better Nature makes monetary donations to rePurpose Global based on how much plastic it uses in packaging and shipping materials. That money is sent to rePurpose Global partner Waste4Change, a social enterprise in West Java, Indonesia. Waste4Change develops sustainable waste management systems to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills.

By supporting Waste4Change, Better Nature hopes to reduce the overall amount of plastic waste globally and ensure that it’s reused in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Waste4Change also provides jobs for more than 140 waste management workers and their families in West Java.

Related: Oglethorpe University senior has simple solution to better protect Hawaii’s dolphins

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy product made from fermented soybeans. It’s a staple protein and a major industry in Java, where it most likely originated centuries ago. Boosting the plastic recycling industry in Indonesia helps protect waste-management employees from inhumane conditions and low wages. The Better Nature initiative boosts these workers’ income by making hard-to-recycle plastics more valuable, the company says, while supporting an experienced recycling social enterprise.

“At Better Nature, our mission is to do things the better way—for people, the planet and animals,” said Elin Roberts, co-founder and head of marketing at Better Nature. “But the better way is not always the perfect way; it’s about making whatever changes we can to get closer to our greater goals. As a start-up, it can be tricky to implement all the changes we want to from the beginning, but we’re working hard to be as sustainable as possible. Going plastic-neutral is a step in the right direction for us, and one we want to encourage more businesses to take.”

Related: University of North Carolina research explains why sea turtles eat plastic

UK Social Enterprise Will Bypass Big Drug Companies to Make COVID-19 Vaccine Available to the Poor

A new UK social enterprise has been formed to bring a promising COVID-19 vaccine to the world, sidestepping large pharmaceutical companies to make sure it’s made available and affordable to the poorest countries.

Founded by Imperial College London, VacEquity Global Health (VGH) will waive royalties and only charge modest cost-plus prices for the vaccine, enough to fund its ongoing research and accelerate global distribution.

VGH’s social mission is to rapidly develop vaccines to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and distribute them as widely as possible in the UK and abroad. “Right now we think the focus should be on how to solve the problem rather than how to make money out of it,” Simon Hepworth, the director of enterprise at Imperial, told the Thompson Reuters Foundation. “Social enterprise fits with our mission: applying scientific discoveries for the benefit of society.”

VGH is supported by Imperial and Morningside Ventures, a venture investor specializing in companies that develop innovative science for the public good. Morningside and Imperial also plan to launch a separate startup called VaXEquity (VXT), which will develop self-amplifying RNA technology used in the vaccine to treat other health conditions beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

The two new ventures are built upon the research of Professor Robin Shattock, who pioneered the technology of self-amplifying RNA. Shattock is Head of Mucosal Infection and Immunity at Imperial College London and co-founder of both VGH and VXT.

this photo shows the gloved hands of a scientist at VacEquity Global Health doing research on a vaccine for the coronavirus

VacEquity Global Health’s vaccine uses self-amplifying RNA technology to trigger an immune response in a host cell and produce immunity to COVID-19.

For COVID-19, the technology is used to deliver genetic instructions to muscle cells to make the “spike” protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. This protein triggers an immune response in the host to produce immunity to the coronavirus.

The vaccine will enter phase one of human trials with 300 people on June 15. Another trial involving 6,000 people is planned for October. If these human trials are successful, the Imperial vaccine can be distributed in the UK and overseas early next year, Imperial College London reported in a press release.

The quick progress is possible because self-amplifying RNA technology lends itself to rapid manufacturing scale-up, the company says. A large quantity of vaccine doses can be made in manufacturing facilities with a small footprint. The team’s supply chain and manufacturing partners will be ready to produce tens of millions of vaccines from early 2021, the company said.

“We have spent an intense six months to fast-track our vaccine to the clinic,” Shattock said. “Now we are ready to combat the virus through our clinical trials. We are grateful to the thousands of people helping us advance the vaccine: from donors, investors and the government to volunteers for our clinical trials. These new enterprises are the most effective way for us to deliver COVID-19 vaccines quickly, cheaply and internationally, while preparing for future pandemics.”

photo of a sample dish used in research for a COVID-19 vaccine at Imperial College London

If upcoming human trials are successful, the Imperial vaccine can be distributed in the UK and overseas early next year, according to VGH and Imperial College London.

Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, said the UK is making “remarkable” progress in developing a vaccine “and the speed with which Imperial has progressed its self-amplifying mRNA vaccine has been breathtaking. Imperial’s technology shows great promise, so I welcome this further move to accelerate development of a potential vaccine.”

Professor Alice Gast, president of Imperial College London, said VGH and VXT “will fight disease, create thousands of jobs and fast-track scientific advances. We are determined to both defeat the current coronavirus and improve the world’s readiness to fight pandemics for generations to come.”

She’s the Bawse: Meet the Youngest Retailer in the History of Target

She’s five years old, and she’s the Bawse. She’s also the youngest CEO to ever sell her products on the shelves at retail giant Target.

Of course, Lily Adeleye does have one big advantage over most kids her age: Her mom, Courtney Adeleye, is a highly successful entrepreneur herself, so Lily learned from the best.

Related: Dream like a kid: The inspiring story behind Me and the Bees Lemonade

As Black Enterprise reports, Lily is the mini-sized fashion maven behind Lily Frilly, a purveyor of accessories such as hair bows, tote bags, backpacks and lunch boxes for children. Her mom, meanwhile, is founder and CEO of The Mane Choice, a dominant force in the black haircare industry. A social entrepreneur, Courtney Adeleye has dedicated herself to helping other black businesswomen live out their entrepreneurial dreams and take control of their finances. To the tune of $30 million, she partnered with MAV Beauty Brands to launch the Generational Advantage Fund, which provides support for aspiring female entrepreneurs in financial literacy, capital, mentorship, resources and support, scholarships and housing.

Lily isn’t Courtney Adeleye’s first success story, but she might be the cutest. More importantly, she’s also got a head for business, her mom said. “From the time Lily was three, I knew then she had a business mindset,” Courtney told Black Enterprise. “At an early age, as she watched me build a successful business from the ground up, it exposed her to many possibilities and goals, so with that, we didn’t wait until she was an adult to help her pursue them.”

photo of Lily Adeleye wearing one of her Lily Frilly bows in her hair

Lily Adeleye’s mother, Courtney Adeleye, believes “children have the ability to meet their full potential at an early age.”

Lily makes it clear that she’s no figurehead. “I own my own company,” she asserted in the Black Enterprise interview. “I don’t just like it, I love it.”

She also serves as a positive role model for other children who aspire to do more than play video games on their tablets all day long. “We must instill strength, power, assertiveness, authority and confidence in our growing young ladies,” the Lily Frilly website states. “Lily Frilly not only teaches our children about who they are (beautiful young women who can do anything they put their minds to), but it reinforces this vision by layering on a positive initiative with books, clothing, toys, live empowering events, charity events and so much more.”

Related: This 12-year-old social entrepreneur uses bowties to help shelter animals get adopted

Lily Frilly’s online branding is characterized by bright hues, heavy on the pink and red, and lots of photos of children wearing Lily’s bows and other items. Throughout May 2020, the company also hosted a weekly $1,000 “cash giveback” promotion on Instagram. To win, customers had to buy at least one Lily Frilly bow at a Target store, email a copy of the receipt to the company and repost a flyer photo about the giveaway contest on their own Instagram page.

In an April 2020 promotion, Lily’s Instagram followers had a chance to win a vacation to Disney World.

“Many people don’t understand the importance of instilling ‘the NOW’ into children,” Courtney said in the Black Enterprise interview. “Not in all situations do you have to wait until you’re older to pursue your dreams. Lily Frilly believes that children have the ability to meet their full potential at an early age, and we hope people see our story as an inspiration to be innovative and step outside of the box.”