While many kids in their early teens waste time on video games or enjoy just messing around and playing with their friends, one young man in Birmingham, Alabama, opened his own small business so that he could both make some money and be his own boss.
That young man is 12-year-old Mario Mack. He told local media that he started his small business, J’s Pop-Up Shaved Ice, when he was just 10 years old so that he could follow in the footsteps of his mother, who also runs a small business in the city.
Mack, speaking to CBS 42 about his business and following in his mother’s footsteps, said, “She really liked to work for herself, and I saw that, like, early on when she started and I thought it was really cool. So, I wanted to do my own thing and start a food truck.”
He worked diligently at the business on weekends while focusing on schools during the week, and, two years after he started the business when he was just ten years old, was able to buy his first trailer for the pop-up shaved ice stand. Now he’s plowing his earnings back into savings so that he can buy a bigger trailer and build a bigger shaved ice business.
Mack also told CBS 42 that he wants to remain self-employed as he grows up and aims to eventually learn to cook as a chef and open up his own restaurant. He said, “What I want to be when I grow up? I want to own my own restaurant and I want to be able to cook.”
Mack then gave CBS 42 a message for other people his age, saying that people should try to work toward making their dreams a reality. “Whatever you put your mind to you can do and whatever you’re passionate about you should do it because it could really come true,” he said.
Courtney Craig, the Program Manager at Urban Impact Birmingham, a non-profit that helps entrepreneurs in the area, also spoke to CBS 42. She described what her organization does to help out entrepreneurs like Mack, saying, “We try to really create access and opportunities for all entrepreneurs. So we have programs, we have capital access, and we also try to develop in the district as well.”
She added that having young entrepreneurs is important because it gives those kids something productive to do, saying, “It’s necessary. We need to have a wraparound approach in our community when we’re serving entrepreneurs and we need our kids to have something productive.”
Here’s a video from Mack’s shaved ice stand, showing him giving back to the homeless in the somewhat impoverished city:
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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