High school entrepreneurs help Memphis shine bright

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My name is Aumilli’on Kimble and I’m a Let’s Innovate Through Education (LITE) Memphis Fall 2018 Finalist. A recent move brought me to Bartlett High School, where I was faced with the choice to bring a lunch to school or pay money for it. I got pretty sick of taking a typical sandwich or salad for lunch; I craved hot food. One day, I thought to take last night’s dinner for lunch, so I got my younger sibling’s insulated cups, warmed my food up, and placed it inside the cups. When lunchtime came I was faced with the depression of cold food. After extensive research on ways to generate heat without electricity, I didn’t have any luck with finding a product that worked effectively at heating food without using electricity. I left the search alone until LITE Community Partner Day, an event which invites volunteers to speed mentor LITE students to give feedback on our initial startup ideas.

One of my partners gave me lots of help on the fundamentals of getting the business started. After that event I conducted two experiments using Hot Hands, the single-use air-activated hand warmers. In the first experiment, I used one Hot Hand placed inside my lunch pal, and at lunch I concluded there wasn’t enough heat being created. The next day was the final day I had to ensure the basic idea worked before pivoting to a new idea. I placed 8 warmers into a lunch pal and five hours later the lunch box was warm to the touch on the outside. The inside was heat galore with condensation forming and I was met with the greatest feeling of having a product tested and proven to work.

Heat Keep is an air-activated pouch about the size of a hand that keeps food warm on the go. While the warmers aren’t reusable, the pouch is. Through LITE, I’ve done market research, a business model, and pricing. The materials necessary for a prototype of Heat Keep have been ordered! We are close to being ready for a test group for the product and a pre-order list. Heat Keep’s goal is to generate enough funds from the launch and other resources to pay for the scientific trials and testing needed to produce a Heat Keep Packet. After the initial launch of Heat Keep, we hope to introduce an air-activated packet, a reusable pack, and a Heat Keep lunch box.

Here, we speak of this day and age where kids don’t have passion and are always locked into their phones. Pitch Night is the night when family, friends, investors, and spectators pack the house to hear young innovative minds speak about their product or service. This is the night where support matters the most as there will be two winners from the stage and the floor pitch that will win extra funding for their business. The students who’d rather be up nights working on their future, who put success over sleep, who have the courage to speak in front of hundreds of people about their dream are America’s bright future. They are the future leaders of Memphis. Whether it’s with your time or money, I encourage you to invest in these young, bold, innovative minds.

December 6, 2018 is Pitch Night — will you be there? RSVP now!

*SCS has free lunch for all students.

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