IMPACT

11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Working With World Vision To Help People In Need

05/20/2015 05:15 EDT | Updated 05/21/2015 11:59 EDT

She loves to play soccer, volleyball and she’s unsure if her favourite subject in school is science or gym. She’s in grade five and seems like your average fun-loving kid, except she’s designing four dresses that will not only change lives, but in some cases, save them.

Her name is Alex and she is working in partnership with World Vision (and her mother) to design and sell dresses that will raise money for several initiatives across the globe, with a project called Ivy and Alex. She's created an Indiegogo account in order to buy more fabric and market the philanthropic product to different stores across Canada and the U.S.

“I have so much, people don’t have as much as me and I wanted to help,” she tells the Huffington Post Canada. “I get to help, become an entrepreneur and spend time with my mother.”

The colour of each dress symbolizes the charity to which the money will go. The blue dress will help build wells and will provide people with clean, pure drinking water. The pink dress will give children a chance to learn or provide the sick and elderly with much needed medicine. The green dress provides someone with a meal that they’d might not have had otherwise. The red dress is for kids closer to home, for programs that help Canadian children.

The idea came to Alex one night after she had seen kids selling wallets and other little things to raise money for Sick Kids Hospital. She asked her mother what she could do to help, and that’s when she was told about World Vision.

“We’ve worked with amazing youth in many different capacities who are passionate about changing the world. This is the first time that I’m aware of that we’ve worked with someone so young with such a comprehensive business plan,” said Sara Lewis, a development advisor from World Vision said.

“Alex is incredibly self-possessed, mature and articulate for 11. Actually, she rivals many adults I know on this front. At the same time she has the energy and enthusiasm of a child. I was so impressed with her depth of commitment of wanting to fight poverty. “

So far, their Indiegogo account has raised over $7,000, almost half their goal of $15,000. With still over a month left before the fundraiser ends, they will still be producing the dresses before the end of May.

“We’re getting the project off the ground regardless,” said Jacqueline Dinsmore, Alex’s mother.

Jacqueline used to be a corporate lawyer on Bay St. but left that career to become an entrepreneur. She explained that going into business for herself meant long hours, and being away from home.

“When Ally came to me and said, 'let’s do business together,' I was on cloud nine, because at the end of the day I get to be an entrepreneur and see her.”

With her mother’s business, Alex will have the network available to be able to put the dresses in over 2,500 stores. Over 30 stores have already ordered the dresses, as well as children’s hospitals and individuals.

World Vision depends on fundraising events and people like Alex to be able to help people and continue their long-term development work.

“A portion of each sale will support World Vision projects corresponding with the colour of the dress,” says Lewis. “What is unique here is the fact that Alex came up with a product-marketing plan to raise money for causes she cares deeply about. It’s the scope and strategy of her plan that is remarkable.”