Samaira Mehta inspiring fellow young founders to turn their ideas into reality

Samaira Mehta is Play Like a Girl personified. She’s owned her own business, CoderMindz, for the past five years, she’s been named entrepreneur of the year several times over, and in 2020, she launched an entrepreneurship immersion program to help inspire the next generation of business owners.

And, oh, did we mention that she’s 12?

We had the pleasure of meeting Samaira when Play Like a Girl traveled to the Bay Area for our STEM+ hackathon in partnership with the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. We’ve kept in touch with this inspiring young woman and we’re so glad we did.

Otherwise, we may not have been invited to be a part of the launch for Samaira’s Boss Bizz Entrepreneurship Academy, a virtual (for now) speaker series and business pitch fest for young, aspiring entrepreneurs.

Starting something new in a pandemic might seem counterintuitive, but Samaira says the timing was actually perfect. “Kids’ opinions matter,” she says. “They have ideas and solutions, which our world needs—especially right now. Young people can bring a lot to the table, and with the situation we are facing, now more than ever, we need the voices of young people heard.”

And because the pandemic meant an end to in-person events, that meant even more of these voices could be amplified and heard. “Much of my career has been spent doing in-person workshops,” she says. “Because this was online, we were able to reach so many more people, all over the world.”

After just a few months of planning, the first event took place in July. By year’s end, Boss Bizz 2.0 was in the books, too. Participants—ranging in age from 8 to 30—have heard from Silicon Valley founders like Kara Goldin, social entrepreneurs like our very own Dr. Kimberly Clay and young dreamers like Alyssa Carson, an aspiring astronaut who’s got her sights set on Mars. (You go, girl!)

Planning for Boss Bizz 3.0 has already begun, too.

“We’ll make improvements with each one, but the goal will always be the same—to share the process of creating a business with aspiring young entrepreneurs and give them a safe, comfortable and exciting space where they can share their ideas and not feel worried about being put down,” she says. 

In other words, Boss Bizz is all about building up the confidence of young founders determined to solve the world’s problems. Like Cheryl Mulor, who’s originally from Kenya and is currently a civil engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cheryl didn’t just attend Boss Bizz 2.0, she also won the grand prize—$1,000 in seed money for her company, Imhotech, which is transforming how healthcare is delivered in sub-Saharan African countries by giving patients easier access to their medical records. The prize money, which was sponsored by Play Like a Girl, will go towards hiring programmers and software developers. A prototype is already in the works, and Mulor expects there to be a pilot program in place by the end of next year.

This is the second time Mulor has received an award for Imhotech—the first was from the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative, a partner of Play Like a Girl—and a boost in confidence has come with each one.

“Really just being a part of the program and seeing all of the amazing ideas is inspiring,” says Cheryl, who created Imhotech with three friends and fellow engineering students at UW-M. “But winning definitely helps. It helps reinforce that this is a good idea and it could really work. And that confidence just makes us work even harder.”