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Meet the 11-year-old CEO trying to teach 1 billion kids to code

What were you doing at 11 years old? Going to school? Playing with friends? Samaira Mehta does that too — but she’s also is the CEO of her own company.

Samaira is the creator of CoderBunnyz, board games to help teach kids how to code. The company has sold about 15,000 games, which retail on Amazon (AMZN) for about $35-$40, and has revenues of a little over $600,000 — not bad for a middle schooler.

A family affair

Samaira's father Rakesh sparked her love for all things coding and tech when she was just 6, using a simple computer prank.

CoderBunnyz CEO Samaira Mehta — CoderBunnyz
CoderBunnyz CEO Samaira Mehta — CoderBunnyz

Samaira told Yahoo Finance that her dad showed her a button and a command on the computer that said 'Press this if you're beautiful.' When Samaira's mouse clicked the command, it disappeared, much to her astonishment, “How did you do that?” she asked her dad. Coding, of course! Samaira immediately fell in love. And she also learned a lesson that would serve as her inspiration for CoderBunnyz:

“Learning is so much easier when it is fun.”

Two years later, with the help of her family, Samaira created the CoderBunnyz brand of board games, which are the centerpiece of her "Yes, 1 Billion Kids Can Code" initiative, which aims to teach kids how to code and help them develop an interest in STEM fields.

Samaira Mehta speaking at Microsoft —Samaira Mehta
Samaira Mehta speaking at Microsoft —Samaira Mehta

Samaira travels across the globe to speak about STEM education, most recently at the C2 Montréal conference, where she spoke to a crowd of about 10,000. And she has done over 40 workshops with her board game in her home town, Silicon Valley.

She’s also caught the eye of companies like Facebook and Google. Google invited her to speak at its recent Take Your Child to Work Day event. She was also invited to Facebook headquarters, where she showed execs how her games help children become more computer literate. Both companies have pledged to help Samira with her coding initiative. Facebook bought and donated 100 CoderBunnyz games to underprivileged schools — and a Google exec even offered her a job when she gets older.

Serious ambitions

Samaira tells Yahoo Finance her biggest challenge while developing CoderBunnyz was getting people to take her seriously. "I'm only 11, but when I started, I was only 6 or 7. So people thought that because I'm so young, I am not able to accomplish great things."

If you're wondering how she juggles schoolwork, friends and her business, Samaira tells us, "It does get a little hard sometimes, but time expands to accommodate your passions and priorities, if you really love what you do."

Given how far she's come for such a young age, you may not be surprised to hear entrepreneurship is not her only ambition. "I want to become President of America when I'm a little older. This position could give me a higher voice to do even greater things for our country, to accomplish so much more. You know, it's just another thing I want to pursue in the future."

Ines Ferre is a markets reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @inesreports; Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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