Yumi Lee | Winner of the 2018 Young Entrepreneur Award – Ontario
“Canada needs to incorporate more activities and events involving and introducing entrepreneurship in our education system”
Yumi is an inspiring young woman known for her creative mind. Maker at her core, she is an entrepreneur, athlete, artist, and works her magic through her fantastic baking business, YumisDozen-dot-com.
Coming from a family passionate about good food, and baked goods, the winner, started her baking business in the middle of a relaxing march break when she was just ten years old. Her company sells cupcakes and cookies to the people at her school, her dad’s colleagues, and neighbourhood friends.
In the 5th year of her operation, she now specializes in customized cookies and cupcakes and produces original treats that are great additions to anywhere from a kid’s birthday to a baby shower.
Named as one of the 12 amazing Toronto whiz-kids age 12 and under by Toronto Star, the winner has also shared her passion for creating, and starting her own successful online business at a Ted Talk show in Kitchener, Waterloo, several keynote presentations in the York Region District School board, as well as during Napanee’s Kidpreneur Fair.
A featured star in the Toronto Star, and Family Channel’s SAVVY show, the winner aspires to be a teacher one day and spends much of her time making things inspired by her favourite YouTube creators.
Startup News had the opportunity to sit down with Yumi Lee to learn more.
SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
YL: I come from a family passionate about baking, cooking, and good food in general. Before I started my business, I was already confident baking by myself and was always sharing my baked goods with friends and family.
Shortly after I turned 10, my parents suggested that it would be a good idea for me to start a baking business, so I could share my passion with my community. When the idea was presented to me, my parents and I acknowledged it would be a way for me to gain skills and learn from my mistakes, contrarily to becoming rich. This desire I had to improve my skills, to gain work experience and to share my hobby with my community are just a few things that inspired me to become an entrepreneur.
SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?
YL: The biggest lesson I’ve learned, is that gaining skills and learning is greater than earning money. In fact, every single time I fill a yumisdozen order, I learn something new. Whether it be a skill or a lesson. On my last yumisdozen order, I made the same cake 3 times and was only successful at the third time. By the time I realized my second prototype would not make the cut, I had one hour left before the customer came. I thought to myself: Am I going to give this person this crappy cake, and just deal with it. Or, am I going to bake, cool, and decorate a cake in one hour to make my customer’s day? You would have never guessed, I chose option 2 and ended up baking an adorable little cake, that the one-year-old baby just loved. This order and other orders have taught me to never give up on à task. Also, they have taught me that when you run into a roadblock, slow down, take a deep breath, and think about what you can do to fix it without freaking out. The things that I’ve learned from yumisdozen translate into my outlook on life. As well as my organization level, my ability to be creative, how I build relationships, and how to form a community and learn from others.
SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?
YL: I would advise new entrepreneurs to be aware that entrepreneurship is hard. You are going to have a roadblock every single time you think something is simple. However, you will learn something new every time you make a mistake. You just have to remember to be organized, create, build relationships, and create a community.
SN: What is the one thing you think we need to do as a nation, today, to position Canada as a global innovation and entrepreneurial leader?
YL: Canada needs to incorporate more activities and events involving and introducing entrepreneurship in our education system. A couple of months ago, I spoke at the kidpreneur fair in Napanee. Essentially the science fair of entrepreneurship. Walking around the fair, and seeing all of the kids with their Bristol boards and prototypes, got me thinking how amazing this event was. It was one of the first times i’d seen a gathering of young kids being creative and discussing adult topics. Such as expenses and advertisement.
We definitely need more events like this in Canada, so we can develop growth mindsets during the early stages of people’s lives. Our society needs to stop focusing on building an organized and Pinterest worthy environment, and trying to prevent messes. Instead, we need to start focusing on building a growth mindset, and providing ourselves and others with the tools, time, and space that allow us to be creative, get messy, and make mistakes. “
SN: What is your message to the world?
YL: To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to be organized, creative, build relationships and create a community.
SN: How have you benefited from being a recipient of the Startup Canada Awards so far?
YL: Being a recipient of the Startup Canada Awards has helped my confidence grow hugely. Also, being recognized for your hard work has a lot to do with the growth of your business, and your motivation. Every time I’m congratulated for my work or encouraged that I’m doing great things, my motivation to impress and grow my business increases. During the Startup Canada regional ceremony, I got more attention and encouragement than I’ve ever got. This helped my confidence grow hugely, and most importantly, motivated me that what I do is great, and that I should keep doing it. Not to mention, during the ceremony, I got the opportunity to hang out with the Startup Canada community, and we were able to share stories and learn from each other. Finally, my passion for baking has increased, because I’m more aware that it not only makes me happy, but it makes everyone happy for different reasons.