"The entrepreneur in us sees
opportunities everywhere we look, but many people see only problems everywhere
they look. The
entrepreneur in us is more concerned with discriminating between opportunities than he or she is with failing to see the opportunities."
- Michael Gerber, author, entrepreneur
My name is Mishika Narula and I envision social entrepreneurs as individuals who create solutions to critical social issues in society. I have arrived at this definition through my experience with a club called Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement programs help high school students focus on the key content areas of entrepreneurship and financial literacy. As both president and vice president of marketing, I have worked cooperatively with members of the finance, human resources and public relations departments in our company, Discover HP. This coordinated effort helps me to understand how different branches of a business function.
Due to the support I receive from members of Junior Achievement, I started my own business, Power of Pops, in March of 2011. Because I come from a family of entrepreneurs, I have seen both my father and grandfather run very successful businesses. I dream of not only following in their footsteps, but also eventually running a non-profit organization. My handicapped cousin in India inspired my idea for starting Power of Pops. Although she passed away five years ago, she has significantly influenced my life. In India, there is an absence of respect for the rights of disabled people. I feel blessed to be living in the United States, where those with disabilities are treated with dignity. I started a company to benefit disabled children overcome any obstacles in their way because I wanted to give back to society.
In 2011, my high school held a charity drive, where we raised money for Saving Tiny Hearts Society. For three weeks, my school encouraged students to raise funds in various ways. I started by baking cakes and selling them at the high school. After four days, I came up with an idea of baking cake pops. These pops became a big hit and resulted in my collecting over $500 for Saving Tiny Hearts Society. I decided to develop the product and look at it as a part-time business, which will help me to fulfill both my goals of becoming an entrepreneur and raising funds for kids with disabilities.
Without a big marketing budget for my Power of Pops venture, I have used social media and have already created a Facebook page and a website. I have made over 5,000 cake pops by catering for Bar Mitzvahs, birthdays, baby showers, and graduation parties. I am currently volunteering at The Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA), which is an intergovernmental partnership of ten park districts, two cities and one village in the northern suburban area of Chicago. NSSRA provides year round recreational programs and services for kids and adults with disabilities. I donate all profits from sales to this organization. I have the privilege of working with these amazing children, who teach me the values of humility, gratitude and happiness. To date I have donated over $6,000 to NSSRA and my high school charity drives.
Over the summer of 2012, I participated in the "Strikes For NSSRA" event, which was a bowling fundraiser held to purchase a new wheelchair accessible van to provide transportation for NSSRA participants. Transportation Services are vital to supply quality recreation services for children, teens and adults with disabilities. I raised $20,000 for this event. I also attended a two-week course on Social Entrepreneurship at Brown University. From the months January to April 2013, Power of Pops raised enough money to send three boys with special needs to summer camp. I hope to further my ability to imagine innovative solutions to the problems in our society and use my experience in Power of Pops to help others.