Mario Mack, a 12-year-old African-American boy from Fairfield, Alabama, who is the young entrepreneur behind J’s Pop-Up Shaved Ice. Starting when he was just 10 years old, he embarked on a journey to bring his business vision to life, all while keeping up with his studies.
From its start, Mario was driven to succeed like his mom, who inspired his independent spirit and paved the way for him.”She really liked to work for herself, and I saw that, like, early on when she started and I thought it was really cool,” Mario told CBS42. “So, I wanted to do my own thing and start a food truck.”
Fast forward two years, and he bought his first trailer. Now, he’s on a mission to expand and level up his business by investing in a larger one. This ambitious young entrepreneur is saving up for that big step.
Urban Impact Birmingham, an organization helping new business minds like Mario’s, plays a role in his journey. Its program manager Courtney Craig said they are passionate about providing opportunities to all entrepreneurs. From programs to capital access, they’re dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the community, especially young entrepreneurs which have been increasing lately.
“It’s necessary. We need to have a wraparound approach in our community when we’re serving entrepreneurs and we need our kids to have something productive,” Courtney said.
For Mario, his business isn’t just a side hustle — it’s his passion. Despite his tender age, he’s living out his entrepreneurial dreams. And he already has his future plans set out, saying, “I want to own my own restaurant and I want to be able to cook.”
But Mario’s dreams aren’t just his own; he wants to inspire fellow young minds. He firmly believes that with determination, anything’s possible. He’s an example of turning passion into reality.
Moreover, balancing school during the week and running his business on weekends, Mario makes the most of his time. He’s also a kind-hearted soul, often setting up shop at local parks in Birmingham. There, he treats the homeless to free shaved ice at least once a month.