Bee Yourself

 Latinitas Startup Chica Conference

The CEO of Me & The Bees Lemonade, Mikaila Ulmer, is an Austinite renowned for her great-grandma’s lemonade recipe. She’s been on Shark Tank, introduced to former president Barack Obama, and on October 14, she’ll be the keynote speaker at the Latinitas Startup Chica Conference, teaching young girls to create innovative solutions to community problems. And if that’s not enough, Ulmer just celebrated her 13th birthday this week.

Startup Chica is one of many events, workshops, and support systems the Austin nonprofit Latinitas puts on to empower Latina girls of central Texas. “At Startup Chica, we are not only channeling Latina and other girls’ unique points of reference and innovation, but we are aiming to diminish the fears about pursuing an entrepreneur’s life,” says Latinitas Founder and CEO Laura Donnelly.

Girls of all backgrounds from ages nine to 18 are invited to listen to their peer and guest speaker, Ulmer, as she shares her personal experience and gives advice to the young entrepreneurs. “I felt it was very important to be a part of this event because it is an opportunity for me to inspire young girls like myself to dream big and go, with full force, towards their dreams,” says Ulmer. “I am excited to share, learn, grow, and inspire.” Ulmer established Me & The Bees Lemonade in 2009, and its rich recipe, made with flaxseed oil and local honey, has been buzzing off the shelves of Whole Foods Market, Austin Starbucks stores, and organic food stores across the country ever since.

Chica Startup will give parents and girls an opportunity to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in the face of adversity. “Blacks and Latinos have always been entrepreneurial,” says Donnelly. “At Latinitas, we are enlightening young Latinas and other girls to their existing entrepreneurial DNA and will also have a workshop for parents explaining the same because for some families, encouraging their daughters to be entrepreneurial is as risky-sounding as being a writer or an artist.”

Latinitas intersects culture with media and technology, empowering 3,500 girls and teens across Texas each year with training in web and graphic design, blogging, video and audio production, and photography. Girls attending Startup Chica will be encouraged to design apps as their products. The day will culminate with the girls pitching their products to a panel of judges, getting practical experience with pricing, marketing, and presentation of their products.

The Startup Chica Conference will take place October 14 from 9 am to 5 pm at Capital Factory, 701 Brazos Street. The $15 cost for attendance includes lunch and materials, and will be waived for Club Latinitas members. Register online here.

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