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Little Buddy: Innovation By Next Generation Entrepreneurs With Zaria Hill and Nou Vang

BWP 17 | Next Generation Entrepreneurs

BWP 17 | Next Generation Entrepreneurs


Out with the old and in with the new. This has always been the way of life in terms of advancement and, sooner or later, the next generation of entrepreneurs will be taking the market by storm. In this episode, Amber Christian interviews Zaria Hill and Nou Vang – the creators of Little Buddy, a device for keeping children out of harm’s way, designed and conceptualized by young entrepreneurs. The creators talk about the inspiration behind this product and what they hope its application will be. Experience what it’s like to begin with an idea and start your own company through the eyes of children.

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Little Buddy: Innovation By Next Generation Entrepreneurs With Zaria Hill and Nou Vang

While I’m in the process of preparing for season two, I’ve got another special set of guests from Junior Achievement. A key part of our mission at Wonderly is giving back and encouraging the next set of generations to pursue STEM and to pursue entrepreneurship. This comes from my twenty-year career in technology and building companies. Speaking of our next generation, we have a treat and another company from Junior Achievement. Michelle Maryns, a previous guest on the show and a fellow Founder of We Sparkle is teaching a Junior Achievement class here in Minnesota. JA is a volunteer-driven kindergarten through twelfth-grade programs that foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, financial literacy skills and uses experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. We have two guests from our next company and we’re going to go ahead and have our first guest introduce herself and tell us more about the school she’s from.

My name is Nou and I’m from Ross area High School. I’m in tenth grade.

Why did you join Junior Achievement?

It was new out of my comfort zone thing. I wanted to experience new things. I was like, “Let me join the business. Let me try business and see how that goes.”

Tell us a little bit more about the name of your company. 

Our company is Little Buddy. It’s a key chain that has an alarm and a light to protect kids in the outside world-ish.

I’ve heard you have an adorable animal involved in your logo. Tell me a little bit more about that.

It’s an elephant. We were researching what animals represent protection? Elephant showed up and it’s like, “Let’s do an elephant. It’s cute.”

It’s surprising how much you need to learn in order to run a business. Click To Tweet

Speaking of this product you’re working on, where did the idea come from for this?

It was not my idea. It was Zaria’s idea. I was like, “That’s a good idea. I want to do this.” It’s protecting the kids and other people. I was like, “Let’s do this.”

For you, tell us something hard about this process of creating a company.

It was hard because you have to try new things and you got to figure out what it does and interact with people. It’s hard because I don’t know a lot about business and I was like, “Do I do this?” I would always go to my friend for help, but then she’s like, “I don’t know it too.” I would ask a lot of questions and I’d be like, “Am I being too annoying? Am I asking too many questions at the same time?”

I’ll tell you, you’re never asking too many questions in business. Even before this interview, we were talking about the challenge of being an introvert entrepreneur. That’s like, “We have to talk to a lot of people, introverts unite,” we said quietly in our quarters at home. That’s part of it. It’s wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us. We have our second speaker. Can you please go ahead and introduce yourself and tell us the school you’re from?

I’m Zaria. I’m from Hopkins High School.

Zaria, why did you join Junior Achievement?

My mom said that it would help to start up a fashion line and all this other stuff, but then something else happened.

You came up with Little Buddy. That’s something else that happened. Tell us more about Little Buddy. How did that idea come up for you?

BWP 17 | Next Generation Entrepreneurs
Next Generation Entrepreneurs: Starting a company is hard when you don’t know a lot about business and you have to start new things.


One day my therapist gave me a safety key chain because she noticed that I’m always out by myself because I’m usually at the Mall of America with friends. I don’t know how to use this. It’s hard and difficult. I was like, “We should create a key chain for kids that are easy to use and looks interesting and fun.”

That’s called identifying a pain point out in the market. We’ve all had things that we try and use it. We’re like, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand.” The great part is you made the leap from, “There’s this thing I can’t use, why I don’t create this thing I can use?” That’s a big part of the entrepreneurial mindset. Share 1 or 2 things that have surprised you along the way here.

It surprised me all the things that you need to learn how to run a business, people you can trust. You need certain people to do certain things for sales, marketing, management, finance and all those other stuff that comes along with it. It’s fun but at the same time, it’s challenging because you need to find certain people to do certain things to help build your company.

We’ve all been there on that entrepreneurial journey. That’s fantastic. I want to let our readers know, Little Buddy, they’re still working on the prototypes, but it’ll be in the market someday. You heard them here first. Remember that when this thing hits the market. For anybody of our readers that would like to volunteer to help with Junior Achievement and help with that next generation of entrepreneurs, they’re always looking for mentors. Everybody knows what time it is. It’s time to go and be Wonderly.

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