YES! Impacting the Entrepreneurs of the Future: An Alumni Highlight
Austin Nash, 2009 graduate of Springfield High School, and past member of the Springfield YES! team, has found his niche in business at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Thanks in part to his participation in the YES! Program, Austin has decided to pursue a degree in business and has recently found success in a business venture he and two fellow students started.
In an interview, Austin states that the YES! Program “impacted how I thought about entrepreneurship. Not only through the common sense lessons I learned but also what entrepreneurship can do for others.” Austin, along with fellow St. Thomas sophomores Matt Baloun and Brandon Kohler recently launched a business, Lemonaid. Lemonaid, which started as a ‘mobile’ lemonade stand – selling lemonade door to door has grown to include selling Lemonaid t-shirts.
As Nash stated in an interview with TommieMedia, “Lemonaid is about entrepreneurship, and at its core, lemonade”. Profits from both the lemonade and t-shirts go towards funding businesses in developing countries. To do this, Nash and his partners are working with Kiva, a non-profit organization that allows people to lend money through the internet to microfinance businesses across the world. They have already been successful in microfinancing a business: their first microloan was $50 to a beauty salon in Africa. Because the money that is sent through Kiva is a loan they are “entrusting and empowering [businesses and individuals] to use the money and then pay it back”, said Nash.
When asked what impact YES! has had on his current work Austin explained, “I feel really lucky that I got to be a part of YES! and the people that I met through it. YES! was an amazing experience for me…I learned about teamwork and setting and accomplishing goals.” Austin went on to say that his favorite part about participating in YES! was the people. He enjoyed working with his team and others across Minnesota participating in YES!.
He continues to reflect this passion for people when he summarized his work on the Lemonaid website by saying, “I think entrepreneurship is the greatest change maker in the world. It’s not about awareness or talking, it’s about going out there and executing on something and actually providing value to people. At the end of the day that is what I love, helping entrepreneurs do what they love.”
We continue to wish Austin success in all of his ventures and are very proud to see YES! alums continue to make such positive impacts in the world. If you know of another YES! alum who is doing great things, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the business, Lemonaid, can be found at www.lemonaid.mn.