Mario Mack is a 12-year-old from Fairfield, Alabama, who juggles school and entrepreneurship. He is the owner of J’s Pop-Up Shaved Ice, a business he started when he was only 10 years old. He focuses on schooling during the week and turns to his business during the weekends and holidays.
Mack launched his business inspired by the desire to succeed like his mother, who influenced his independent thinking.
“She really liked to work for herself, and I saw that, like, early on when she started and I thought it was really cool,” Mack told CBS42. “So, I wanted to do my own thing and start a food truck.”
Two years after he bought his first trailer, the teen entrepreneur is now on course to expand his operations by investing in a larger one. And he is doing so through his own savings. He is also getting assistance from one local organization, Urban Impact Birmingham, which specializes in helping entrepreneurs like Mack.
“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,” said Courtney Craig, the Program Manager at Urban Impact Birmingham.
“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,” added Craig.
While the business may appear as a side hustle, Mack believes he is living his entrepreneurial dreams. He is passionate about his business and happy to serve as an inspiration to other young entrepreneurs like him.
“What I want to be when I grow up? I want to own my own restaurant, and I want to be able to cook,” said Mack.
For potential entrepreneurs, he said, “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.”