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Meet Naomi Porter of Spice It Up, Bright Futures, EntrepreYOUership

Today we’d like to introduce you to Naomi Porter.

Hi Naomi, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I am a 16 years old serial entrepreneur, education reform activist, and student leader from the South Bay area of Los Angeles. As a child, I tried every extracurricular activity imaginable and none of it resonated with me until I participated in the seven months Young Entrepreneur’s Academy as a 6th grader. I was the youngest member in the program, surrounded by mostly high school students. I won 2nd place in the 2017 Y.E.A. start-up funding competition and knew at that moment that I had the gift of writing business plans, making pitches to investors, and creating enterprises that will make a difference in our world. I am the founder of EntrepreYOUership, an organization launched in 2019 to address the lack of affordable entrepreneurial education. This project is youth-led in order to challenge the idea that entrepreneurship is reserved for adults with fancy degrees who have access to venture capital.

Our tag line is “You can do it too” because we want youth to see themselves as entrepreneurs who can create a product or service, even when they are young. Each of my businesses aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, as outlined by the United Nations. My work is centered around making our world a more sustainable and equitable place and the SDG’s are the best frameworks for this. We need more entrepreneurs to address sustainability issues and consider their environmental and social impact when they are in the incubator phase. My advocacy work addresses the national and global issue we are facing, which is: How do we reform our education system to include the skills, training and education that we need to prepare us for the jobs of tomorrow? How do we help all youth develop an entrepreneurial mindset, which is needed to solve the biggest challenges our world faces?

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My biggest organizational challenge is securing financial resources to help youth launch their businesses. I interact with youth from around the world who have great ideas and need relatively small amounts of start-up funding. I am in the process of applying for grants and seeking corporate partnerships so that we can provide more youth with the physical materials needed to launch. My biggest personal challenge as an entrepreneur is that I rely on self-education and mentor support for daily business operations. I am continually learning about website development, content creation, and employment law. I create my own logistical resources while developing tools to measure impact. This knowledge is not commonly taught in school or acquired through extracurricular activities. Very little of what I learn during school hours prepares me for these business challenges. This is something I aim to change about our public education system.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Spice It Up, Bright Futures, EntrepreYOUership?
My first business, Spice it Up was launched when I was 11. When traveling or camping, I noticed it was inconvenient to pack bulky spice containers. There were no compact travel kits on the marketplace, so I created a product to meet this need. Serial entrepreneurs are always looking for the next way to help their community. Bright Futures was launched when I was 13 because I noticed many sixth graders struggling with the academic and organizational demands of middle school and knew I could help. I hire and manage a team of employees to serve our clients and their families. At age 15, I founded EntrepreYOUership to provide free entrepreneurial education by partnering with existing organizations that serve youth. We host online workshops that are innovative, attractive, and with a payoff. We innovate by hosting raffles to incentivize participation and maximize engagement. Our attractive environment includes social interaction and business plan writing support, without excessive lectures or power points. The payoff is that participants have access to start-up funds and their businesses are promoted through social media platforms.

We have hosted 25+ workshops for 250+ youth. Our team hosts conversational “Think Tank” sessions where youth receive support from teen entrepreneurs and peers. This provides feedback and camaraderie, leading to thoughtful and viable business plans that address these questions: How is your business different than your competition’s? What marketing strategies will ensure success? Who will buy your product/access your service? What physical items do you need to get started? EntrepreYOUership is a pathway that gives youth access to education, resources, and support. This began as my Girl Scout Gold Award project but has evolved into an ongoing project to serve youth while advocating for the inclusion and expansion of entrepreneurial education in our communities.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
One of the biggest impacts in my life has been Girl Scouts. As most successful women in business would say, selling Girl Scout cookies was their first business- I am no different. Scouting shapes your life and earning the Gold Award teaches you how to design and scale a project that matters. Scouting has shown me that there is an intersection between entrepreneurship and activism. My advocacy work is focused on changing the way we educate youth. I am spending my life creating more access and equity in our education system so that all young people can be equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset. Many of the social problems faced in the world are opportunity spaces for the creation of business models to address these. Let’s start training youth to do just this because my generation can’t afford to wait.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Stacey Porter

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