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By: Sarah Humphrey

As quarantine gripped the world, we all were forced to hunker down and distance ourselves from the rest of society. While solitude and isolation became the norm, many dove head first into their passions, thoughts, and ambitions to escape the mundanity of life. This is especially true for those with an Entrepreneurial drive. Many attribute Entrepreneurship only to older generations, but we believe that the younger generation has the unique capability of experiencing the wonder and whimsy of life -- making them excellent Entrepreneurs.


At YES-U, we are determined to help young Entrepreneurs thrive. YES-U is an Entrepreneurial program that focuses on empowering younger generations with their endeavours. Youth Entrepreneur Start-Up (YES-U) is a Youth Entrepreneur Training, specifically for students between the ages of 14-19. This is a six to thirteen week course held at schools, youth facilities, churches, and our corporate offices.


At YES-U, we believe in empowering our youth to be the next generation of leaders. The kind of leaders that never stop dreaming, learning, and achieving. The kind of leaders that will carry the next generation forward. Are you with us?


Meet Michaelah, a 12-year-old tycoon taking the beverage industry by storm. Michaelah is the founder and creator behind Queen’s Lemonade Palace, a lemonade and tea company serving the Tampa area.


Queen’s Lemonade Palace is anything but your average neighborhood lemonade stand. With a top secret recipe and tropical flavors, Queen’s Lemonade Palace tops any and all homemade lemonade on the market today.


Starting back in 2017, Michaelah was itching to attend Act for Disney, an acting program for aspiring young actors. The one catch: the program cost $5,000. But with a little determination and a big idea, Michaelah set out to sell batches of her family’s lemonade in hopes to make just enough money to attend the program.


 In the midst of raising money for the program, Michaelah soon realized her passion for Entrepreneurship. Deciding to stick with it, Michaelah has grown Queen’s Lemonade Palace into a full-blown company with a little help from her mother. As a mobile business, Michaelah can be seen serving the Tampa area at birthday parties, weddings, and other catered events. 


When asked about where she sees Queen’s Lemonade Palace in the future, she aims to have her products in stores worldwide. Michaelah stated, “I hope to inspire both adults and kids that you can do whatever you want in life. You just have to push yourself to try.” With a big idea and ever bigger ambitions, Michaelah notes the importance of setting yourself

up for success. “My biggest piece of advice for someone starting a business is to have a business plan that works. And if it doesn’t, make another one and keep trying. It’s important to never give up because there’s multiple ways you can help yourself and help others too!”


Michaelah’s business plan seems to be working well, and she now has begun to give back to her community in several ways by donating to different organizations and mentoring others her age. 


With dreams of being a veterinarian one day, Michaelah has already begun to save money for college and hopes to show others the importance of caring for themselves and the community around them. Be sure to check out @queens_ lemonade_palace_ on Instagram and order Queen’s Lemonade for your next gathering today

By: Sarah Humphrey

It’s no doubt that the digital age is booming. And as COVID and stay-at-home orders are sending people behind their four walls, technology use has been at an all-time high. New apps and devices seem to be popping up left and right, all promising the same thing: convenience.


While many of these products oversell and underdeliver, Martika Jones is here to disrupt the digital marketing industry. By providing a product that can bring more value than its competitors--and not to mention its cheaper price point--Martika aims to provide her audience with tools and technology that the digital marketing industry has seemed to be missing in recent years.


“It’s all about bringing quality content right to you,” says Martika. 


Explaining exactly how her product works, Martika states: “Having a similar business model to Linktree, iLinkPro is a subscription based service where there are different tiers.” She goes on to explain that the platform has a free version, which provides more than Linktree and other competitors do.


One defining feature of iLinkPro is its ability to have full YouTube videos and Spotify playlists present on the iLinkPro site, without having to be redirected to YouTube or Spotify itself. In a world where convenience is an ever-growing demand, Martika and her husband are able to hone in on exactly what consumers are looking for. To top it all off, the product is two dollars cheaper than Linktree. With its competitive price point and extensive features, iLinkPro is left in an incredibly advantageous position.


“If you’re not bringing value to your audience, it’s not going to matter.” And with the statement by Martika, it’s important to note that many business owners have lost touch with their true target audience. In an age of distraction and hurry, it can be easy to forget why you do what you do and who you do it for. But Martika acknowledges these challenges and declares that “the proof is in the pudding.”


When you forget the driving forces behind your product, both your values and your consumers, your business is lost. It becomes another business that crashes and burns, just as it takes two steps off the ground. 


As a woman with quite a following on social media, Martika knows the importance of catering to your consumers wants and needs. She mentioned how last year she had

stopped producing as much as she had done previously. As her content creation dwindled, so did her following. Martika recognized the importance of staying up to date with her audience, yet also acknowledges that the followers she lost might be for the better.


“I am in the midst of rebranding, so some of the followers who were there for my previous beauty posts have left, which is completely fine. I am now trying to attract more CEOs and businesswomen to my brand.”


Repositioning and rebranding can be seen as a terrifying thing to many, yet Martika hones back in on the idea of knowing your target audience from the inside out. She is opened to the shifts and changes that her business is experiencing because she knows her audience is shifting and changing as well.  iLinkPro is the perfect example of Martika’s ideology surrounding one’s target audience. She understands that convenience and value are at the top of mind for her followers, and iLinkPro is the overall representation of those things. 


As a digital marketing master, Martika knows exactly how to provide those tools that her consumers are seeking. By marrying convenience, quality, and value, iLinkPro is becoming the central heartbeat of the digital marketing industry. And as Martika’s audience continues to grow, one thing will remain central: her relentless pursuit of keeping the consumer at the core of everything she does.


Looking for a convenient way to add value to your business? Try iLinkPro today

By: Sarah Humphrey

Patiently waiting for our Zoom meeting to begin, a bright-eyed, youthful face pops up on the screen. And with her cheery presence and eloquent greeting, her sheer presence acts as a microcosm for her quiet determination and hunger for more. 


Meet Nandini Agarwal, a University of South Florida senior and who is changing the way the medical device industry operates by creating eco-friendly solutions for medical-related waste. Starting as a one woman show, Nandini was previously working at Goldman Sachs in New York City as their Summer Analyst Intern when the idea initially came to her. She then joined the Clinton Global Initiative University, a cohort that turns ideas into actions, in order to help her idea come into fruition. Soon after, Samagreen was born. 


While still in the midst of launching and finalizing the product, Nandini explains that “there are medical devices used all over the world that create a lot of plastic waste and can be uncomfortable for patients to wear.” Recognizing the threats to both the environment and patients themselves, Samagreen aims to produce ostomy bags, which are used to discard waste from the body. 


“We essentially are trying to make our ostomy bags flushable, biodegradable, or both, so doctors and nurses are able to flush the bags down the toilet without any hassle,” states Nandini. 


By changing the way the medical community disposes waste, Samagreen aims to revolutionize biomedical waste management by minimizing mixed waste and diminishing any infectious diseases due to bodily fluids. 


And while backed by both the cohort and USF, Nandini expressed the difficulties of getting the business off the ground. From finding the right mentor to the right investors, starting a business backed by extensive research can be incredibly daunting--especially as a young woman. 


Nandini admits, “as Entrepreneurs, we are expected to be the Jack of all trades. Since I have a biomedical company, I am expected to know all of the science, all of the chemistry, and all of the environmental implications that go with my product. But that’s simply not the case.” 


It was refreshing to hear such wisdom from such a young woman, especially in a time where we are often expected to be it all. Nandini understands the

importance of recruiting others who are specialized in particular areas and acknowledges that she does not know it all, a lesson many people her age have yet to learn. 


In a final piece of advice to her younger self, Nandini simply said three words: humble, hungry, and hustle.


“The other day, I wrote these words on my graduation cap. And for the female Entrepreneur, I want them to know the importance of being humble, being hungry, and hustling as hard as you can.”


Leaving with those priceless nuggets of wisdom, Nandini said one more statement that brought home what it means to be a female Entrepreneur in today’s day and age: “I’m still speaking.”


Referencing the recent Vice President debates, Nandini acknowledged the importance of never losing one’s voice, especially in an industry where women are the minority. 


And with her insightful wisdom and beaming disposition, Nandini ended the conversation with a subtle confidence and smile to match, showing what it means to stand strong in one’s own power.

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