About the Whatever It Takes Program:
Meet Anika from San Diego, Ether from St. Louis, Winter Green from NYC, and Avni from Austin - four young women with unique backgrounds and entrepreneurial ideas with one thing in common: they are members of the incredible Whatever It Takes program. Founded by Sarah Hernholm, the program hinges on the belief that young people can do more and have a greater sense of self-efficacy if they learn how to be social entrepreneurs. WIT, the only 6 unit college credit social entrepreneur and leadership program for high school teens in the country, helps teens design and launch, manage and measure, a social enterprise. Based in San Diego, California, with locations in New York City, Austin, and St. Louis, WIT also hosts teen only hackathons (Smart City Saturday) and puts the power into the teens’ hands with the 2018 launch of WIT Crew - a teen led “club” providing teens the platform and tools to make a social impact in their community, while being connected to the resources and mentorship of the WIT network.
Meet Anika Brahmbatt - a multitalented serial entrepreneur who is currently working on a social enterprise called Team Tranquil to help teens cope with stress and anxiety.
Tell us about yourself.
Anika: I am a junior at Torrey Pines High School and a first year WIT teen. For as long as I can remember, one of my strongest values has been living a healthy lifestyle. I remember being seven years old and holding a mock yoga class for my cousins in the living room. This passion has since blossomed into a love for dance, which I have been doing at a studio for eight years and on my school dance team for two. Apart from this, I enjoy being secretary of my school’s Key Club, a community service club. I also volunteer through Study Buddies, where I am able to tutor and spend time with elementary schoolers. Additionally, I am a part of my school’s Speech and Debate team which constantly teaches me new things and puts me outside my comfort zone.
Who or what inspired your interest in entrepreneurship?
My first real exposure to entrepreneurship was in my Introduction to Business class at school last year. It sparked my interest because it was not always the most traditional class. We did learn about important textbook basics such as the 5 P’s of marketing, but we also got to further experience the business world by experimenting in hands-on stock market simulations, having guest speakers present about their innovative businesses, and seeing episodes of TV shows such as Shark Tank and Startup U that showed different aspects of the business-launching process.
Tell us about your business.
The social enterprise I am launching this year is called Team Tranquil. The business’s mission is to promote both mental and physical well-being by giving teens a wide variety of techniques to cope with stress and anxiety. I organize events with different types of local businesses, such as yoga studios and art studios, for teens to attend for free or at a much lower cost than what the regular price would be. The goal of this is to expose participants to as many different stress-relief techniques as possible in the hopes that they will find at least one or a few of them effective and continue to use them.
What problem does your business solve?
The glaring issue that Team Tranquil solves is the fact that many teens dealing with anxiety or overwhelming stress feel helpless when it comes to bettering their situation or state of mind. What drove me to create this enterprise were my own personal struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. A huge source of stress surrounding these experiences was the fact that they always seemed inevitable and inescapable. Oftentimes, depending on the severity of the case, doctors and therapists really are the people qualified enough to take charge. My goal is not to combat this fact, but rather to show teens that it is possible to take simple action steps to calm ourselves down and significantly improve our general sense of well-being by living a healthy lifestyle.
How do you see the long-term impact of your business?
In the long run, I see my business creating an awareness that people have more control over their health and well-being than is often believed. I see Team Tranquil helping to make it understood that what is effective for one person may not be for another, and that this is not a standard for judgement but rather a natural fact of life. I see people feeling encouraged to use the techniques that they find most meaningful and effective for them beyond the events of Team Tranquil, making them an important part of their everyday lives.