Your Name: Shien-ru Tsao

Business Name: Project 116

Type of Business: Children’s Goods & Services, Design, Social Enterprise

Business Location: United States

U.S. State: New York

Reason for starting
I am an entrepreneur/product designer in NYC. I’ve launched 3 start-ups in the past 9 years. I was looking for a way to somehow give back what I had experienced. I starting Project 116, a social enterprise that teaches kids entrepreneurship skills. Students learn how to develop sustainable products through hands-on projects.

Biggest Success
Seeing the students take away what they actually learned in class. Their enthusiasm about the possibility of launching their own company or product one day is truly rewarding.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My challenge is how do I create a sustainable business model with Project 116 without making it a nonprofit. We are currently working on relaunching the site for 2013 and incorporating an innovation platform that will hopefully take us into a national level with a larger audience.

Who is your most important role model?
My parents. They taught me to not only work hard but work smart.