Jasmine Lawrence, 17
This is Lawrence's second time as a finalist. When she was just 11, she was drawn to become an entrepreneur when a chemical hair relaxer caused almost all of her hair to fall out. Persuaded that she should create her own product, Lawrence went online to research natural hair-care products, but found that most weren't as natural as their claims implied. She used her allowance to make her own, using ingredients such as lavender oil.
After participating in programs sponsored by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which she says helped her start "a real business" and gave her pro bono legal and financial help, she launched Eden Body Works. In short order, Lawrence got a business license, a tax ID number, insurance, women's and minority business certificates, and a company trademark. After borrowing $2,000 from her parents—and working before school and after finishing her homework—the high school junior launched her company. As a senior and honor student, Lawrence was nominated as Black Enterprise's Teenpreneur of the year and her story was featured on the Today Show and Oprah. In between school work and basketball, Lawrence negotiated deals with giant retailers Wal-Mart (WMT) and Whole Foods (WFMI), where Eden Body Works is now sold.