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My Illumination: The Next Generation’s Light With Maiseng Thao

BWP 18 | My Illumination

BWP 18 | My Illumination


Solving problems and looking for the most suitable solution is a daily task in an entrepreneur’s life. In this episode, Amber Christian speaks to Maiseng Thao, a youth from Minnesota’s Junior Achievement, who shows a lot of promise at such a young age with her product, My Illumination. Maiseng talks about how she used her personal experiences as an inspiration for her product. Not only is it practical, but it also takes into consideration the environment and how it can aid in the increasing use of plastic around the globe. She also shares the deciding factors that the entrepreneurial community showed that ultimately hooked her into being one.

Listen to the podcast here:

My Illumination: The Next Generation’s Light With Maiseng Thao

While I’m in the process of rebooting my show and getting things ready for season two, I have another treat for you. I have another company from Junior Achievement here with me. A key part of our mission at Wonderly is giving back and encouraging the next generation to pursue STEM and I also love encouraging entrepreneurship. This comes from my twenty-year career in technology. Speaking of our next generation, we have a treat for you. Michelle Maryns, a previous guest on the Being Wonderly podcast and fellow Founder of We Sparkle, is teaching a Junior Achievement class here in Minnesota. JA’s volunteers deliver kindergarten through twelfth-grade programs, foster work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills. They use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. It’s a fantastic mission. We have our next guest here and she is going to go ahead and give us her name and tell us which school she’s from.

My name is Maiseng Thao. I am a student from Como Park Senior High school. I am also a PSLE student from St. Paul College.

Tell us why did you join Junior Achievement?

I joined Junior Achievement because I’ve heard a lot of good reviews about Junior Achievement and its awesome programs.

It’s been an awesome program for you.

The amazing people I’ve met made me jump into it.

Speaking of jumping into things, tell us the name of your company.

My company is called My Illumination.

People seldom realize that it’s possible to turn their ideas into reality. Click To Tweet

Tell us more about the products you’re working on because you’re doing some cool stuff.

The product I am working on is a glow in the dark phone case using the 3D printer and PLA filaments. Another product I am working on is designing outdoor toys that is not only made out of biomaterial but will also be able to thrive into a plant after it decomposes.

You have some serious ambition. It’s encouraging and incredible. Let’s talk more about this phone case. Where did the idea come from for this phone case?

Since my little brothers like to use my phone. My phone doesn’t have as much energy and after it dies, I can’t find it especially in the dark. The glow in the dark came from that idea. Being able to have my phone case glow in the dark will help me find it easier in the dark and after it charges, it will be better.

It’s a different use case. I don’t think all of us have our little brothers stealing our phones. It’s great where innovative ideas come from, where its other people stealing our phones. That’s fantastic about the idea of, “The battery’s dead. Where did I put that thing?” Let’s talk a little bit more about the plant, the animal into a plant. Speak a little bit more about that one.

Toys’ main component is plastic. Being able to have a toy made out of bioplastic instead of plastic would be better for the environment.

We can run recycle if they degrade. The entrepreneurial journey is tough for all of us. Tell us a few things about this that have been challenging for you.

BWP 18 | My Illumination
My Illumination: Prototyping a product and looking for a target market are some of the challenging aspects of entrepreneurship.


A few things that have been challenging for me throughout this journey is being able to build up my product or to prototype it. Also, being able to have a good target market.

Tell us more about finding your target market. There are a lot of people that struggle to find their target markets. What do you think has been challenging about that so far for you?

I’ve made some surveys. It’s hard for me to get people to come in and participate in these surveys.

Getting that feedback to help you figure out where to go. Lots of us have that challenge as well. It’s a great part of the journey. What has surprised you the most about this whole building a company and bringing your idea to life? What’s been surprising for you about this?

It’s the support that I have with Junior Achievement and all these amazing students and mentors being able to have them support me. Having that support can help a lot. A lot of people don’t realize even though they have the idea, they could be able to make it into a reality in a dream.

Nobody is an island and having a supportive system around you is incredible and helpful to bring your idea to life. Thank you so much for joining us.

Thank you for having me.

For our followers, people can volunteer with Junior Achievement. If you like these four companies you’ve learned from over the last episodes, they’re always looking for mentors. For all the rest of you, you know what time it is. It’s time to be Wonderly.

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