I recently had the opportunity of being introduced to an exciting entrepreneur with so much potential and passion. I really dont want to give too much away before you read the full interview.
The Full interview with the 11 year old Lashai below.
Hello Lashai, how are you doing? Great to have you on YHP today
Hello, I am very well thank you. I am enjoying my dance with the universe and I am so excited about this interview because you have interviewed so many amazing people and being interviewed makes me feel amazing too.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I live with my mum Sabrina Ben Salami and my step father Mohamed Ben Salami. I am the eldest of four; my brother (Tray-Sean) is 6, sister (Yasmine) 3 and another brother (Mohamed-Salah) 2. I love people and it gives me so much joy to put a (((SMILE))) on someone's face. I have a passion for art, science and writing stories.
I missed 12+ of school education as a result of bullying. I am very close to my grandmother (Mary Paul) I am very proud of my grandmother as she is an amazing interior designer and furniture designer/maker: http://www.wowthankyou.co.uk/mary-pauls-creations
I love butterflies, I love learning, I love sharing my knowledge and experiences with others and I dream of becoming financially free during my teens.
I have just won two awards: Live Unltd and Young Citizens Award
Sing-A-Long with a huge (((SMILE))):
"If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere. You better wake up and pay attention"
"I'm ready to be somebody; I'm ready to go somewhere. I'm ready to wake up and pay attention."
At what age did you start to get involved/interested in business?
My mum started a pilot project called ‘The Mobile Single Parents Project’ when I was 6 years old. I asked her loads of questions as we watched DVDs, audios and studied. I especially enjoyed learning about Physics and the law of attraction and attending events with my mum and brother. When I was 10 years old I launched my first website and I became deeply interested in entrepreneurship.
Briefly tell us about some of the big events you have been to and how they helped you?
Millionaire Bootcamp for women: I was able to interview the speakers and it was an inspirational experience to be with a room filled with motivational women and I learned systems to setup business and made good connections http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ztlaSgRhA6o
British Library Private Reception “Science Fiction But Not As You Know IT”: I love attending private British Library events, because I have an opportunity to learn from key people of influence in different industries.
ClearlySo Tea Q&A: I gained a wealth of support and made priceless connections and valuable leads too. It also gave me a lot of confidence too.
Silver & Gold Club of London: I learned about B.R.I.C. = Brazil, Russia, India and China, these are the countries who have the most physical gold and will become super powers. I learned about gold, silver, palladium and platinum investments.
Robert G. Allen: I gained sponsorship from Dawn Gibbins, Toby Street, Mark Donnan, Robert Allen, and Gesmay Paynter. I learned about the power of my personal life journey and how I can convert my experiences, challenges and achievements into books to inspire youth. I also gained confidence because Robert called me to the stage to speak to his audience. It was so exciting because it gave me a wealth of support from so many amazing people http://www.robertallenseminars.co.uk/?params=http://www.youtube.com/v/xQ5LHusiSBM
At what age did you start your first business, what business was it?
I was 10 years old and asked my mum to help me setup my website to coach youth and I launched a short story competition in my school. My two brothers, I and sister have been featured in newspapers as a result of spotting a problem, coming up with a solution and then simply packaging our idea.
My first business is called ‘My Journey’ and now I am in the process of growing it into: Apps, mentoring programmes, magazines, membership website, books, products, trips, info and much more. I am also planting the seed for ‘Mega Lash-Lash Competitions’ and ‘Fashion Lash-Lash’
You got quite a few things going on at the moment? Let’s talk about you I-Phone Apps, what inspired you to start it, what is the story behind it?
I was inspired by my mum who is the founder of ‘The Lone Parent Expert’ and ‘H.E.L.P!’ = Helping Educate Lone Parents. I saw my mum developing her App idea and I simply asked her to help me create an App. My mum always invites us into her professional life. At first I did not know which App to design, I just knew it’d be awesome to create an App.
During our discussion we both decided to focus upon my personal experience and then I decided to create an App which would help bullies and the victims of bullying. Bullying effects many people at different stages of their life. This could be in school, at work, domestic violence, peer pressure etc so we felt it would be an excellent idea. My App aims to assist the victims and the bully, because I believe if the bully does not get support they will simply continue to victimise others.
What would you say has been the most challenging part of starting a business?
Being the only child at events is sometimes scary, but I feel blessed because I know I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by successful people and they are always so kind towards me. I find it difficult to speak about my message because I am very shy.
You recently started a fashion line called “fashion Lash-lash”, what is it about?
Fashion Lash-Lash will be designed by youth for youth and our primary product range will be called when I grow up. I am very excited about launching it. I am passionate about designing and I spend a lot of my time designing outfits, and I particularly enjoy designing dresses. Each year there will be a huge competition and 6 designs will be selected to be added to my product range.
So what is your plan for the fashion Lash-Lash?
It is top secret right now, because I am going to design a label which will inspire youth to dream big and a special range which will start from 0-16 I am sooooo excited. I also plan to launch a ‘Fashion Lash-Lash’ App.
‘Mega Lash-Lash Competitions’ will focus upon science, art and short stories to inspire youth to dream big so watch this space.
How have you been able to balance school work and business? It must be so challenging?
Well, i believe that all life experiences teaches one, I have fun learning and I would be lying if I led you into believing that I do it all alone. I am very lucky because I have had a head start on my peers due to making valuable connections. I missed out on a year of schooling as a direct result of being a victim of bullying.
During School holidays I attend events and edit my business plan and during term time I focus on school work or combine the two. Practice makes perfect, I am just having fun learning and during my adulthood I will be ready to play a bigger game (((SMILE))) because I believe there is no such thing as failure only feedback. My mother helps in keeping me up to date with school work.
At the moment, i am focusing on creating products (books, apps, mentoring) to generate residual income these will operate without me. I am just a child and hope to continue learning and I believe that by focusing on financial literacy and products now to lay the foundation, the future is bright. I have huge dreams and I believe in myself and the people helping me.
What else interests you apart from starting a business, what do you do for fun?
I love, love, love science and socialising. I love cooking and eating (((SMILE))), Lego Land, Chessington World of Adventures, Disney Land Paris, France, Theatre, Regents Park, Boating trips, Swimming, Kids Space, Cinema, Restaurants, V.I.P tickets to amazing events, London Eye, Madame Tussades, Sea Life, London Zoo, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, designing dresses, science, studying The Secret – What The Bleep Do you Know – Robert G Allen, singing, dancing, spending quality time with my family (((SMILE))) and cuddling my yummy granny!!
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
OMG I have soooo many to choose from... I have been blessed to meet soo many amazing people. Robert G. Allen said “Lashai will be the bestselling author for 2012” he will also write my book forward yippee-yippee!!. Winning Young Citizen Award and Live Award during the same week OMG!..... (((SMILE))) and gaining a wealth of support via: Mum, Siblings and grandmother, Voice News paper, Red Bridge Recorder, ClearlySo, Froggo (Mark Donnan), Robert G. Allen, Dawn Gibbins, WH Smith Ilford, Live Unltd and Gesmay Paynter. I appreciate all of their amazing support. I also met an amazing gentleman named Junior Ogunyemi and he inspired me. Junior is like a big brother, I hope my brother meets him some day.
What tips can you give to young people out there struggling to achieve their dreams?
JUST DO IT! Find a mentor; gain advice, support and contacts... do whatever it takes, follow your heart. Learn to live an ecological life and have passion and purpose at your centre. We all have something special inside of us that can add value to our world.
Love yourself and others, connect with others and always be proud of your natural talent. Follow your dreams and plant seeds and one day your dream will become an oak tree and you will find that the dream will grow you. More importantly remember there is no such thing as failure, never take no for an answer and create huge ripple effects of positivity. Check out www.jjbright.com he’s awesome.
And finally, what should we be expecting from you in the future?
I will continue to dance with the universe and be myself. I have huge dreams and I am currently writing a book called “Kids that dream BIG! – Essential tips on how to move forward”. I dream of: Apps, retreats, products, online membership site, annual awards ceremony, magazines, fashion label, school, social entrepreneur hub, mentoring program and much more. One step at a time. First I will launch my App, book and website then Fashion Lash-Lash and Mega Lash-Lash Competitions (((SMILE))).
Great speaking to you Lashai, before you leave is there any sites where people can get hold of you or find out more?
Thank you sooo much for giving me this opportunity to share the beginning of my journey, I look forward to experiencing the rest of the process.
LinkedIn Profile: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/lashai-ben-salmi/28/584/843
Twitter: @lashaibensalmi (http://twitter.com/#!/lashaibensalmi)
Robert G. Allen: http://www.totalbusinesscart.com/app/?af=1379654