Former Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster, who retired part way through the 2016 season, has spent at least part of his post-NFL life looking for ways to invest.
And he’s put his money, along with several other NFL players, behind a young entrepreneur and her budding business.
Via the Houston Chronicle, Foster, as well as his former Houston Texans teammates Glover Quin (now with the Detroit Lions), Duane Brown and Jonathan Grimes plus others have invested in Me & The Bees Lemonade, the brainchild of 12-year-old Mikaila Ulmer.
Ulmer began selling her grandmother’s flaxseed lemonade recipe at a stand in her hometown of Austin, and uses honey to sweeten it instead of sugar, which isn’t just healthier but also helps support beekeepers and save bees.
Ulmer has since appeared on “Shark Tank,” where she received a $60,000 investment, and has also been on “Good Morning America.” Foster, Quin, Brown, Grimes and the other NFL players have invested over $800,000.
Ulmer has met and spoken with Foster and Quin.
“It’s awesome that I get to work with and around these two,” she said of the players. “They’re very smart. I learned a lot from them in the past couple of hours. I’m very happy that I’m able to work with them and they invested in my company and them helping us and mentoring us and believing in our mission. I think we have a better chance of achieving our goals. That keeps me pumped and excited every day.”
Ulmer, Foster and Quin were among those at the “Bee Brilliant” Entrepreneur Day at a Houston Boys & Girls Club on Thursday.
“She’s so humble,” Foster said of Ulmer. “You always have to be open and willing to learn, and she is. I’m learning from her, too. It’s a cycle. You have to keep an open mind and continue to grow.
“Of course, anytime you invest in anything you look at if it’s going to be profitable. We look for companies that match our main focus of developing a good product, but are also good people and do it for the right reasons. It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small black businesses is extremely important.”
Quin is equally impressed with Ulmer, who works on her business after school and homework, and during school vacations.
“She’s super smart,” Quin said. “She’s very special. Obviously, she has a bright future. Hopefully, I can be a part of it and nourish it and watch her grow. The sky is the limit. I’m very impressed with her.”
The lemonade is sold in Whole Foods throughout the Southeast as well as Wegman’s supermarkets.