Tyler Norris, CEO and Founder of SOULR visited with Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) students yesterday to discuss his entrepreneurial journey and deliver four donated SOULR solar powered carts in partnership with Changing Tides Foundation.
It’s common to see students and sports team sell water on street intersections but it doesn’t necessary out pay the cost of time, labor and ice – a problem Norris is quite familiar with. While studying Business Administration at the University of San Diego, Norris had a deep desire to quit his job at the Apple Store and start his own off-the-gird food cart business. After purchasing his first cart he wanted to start selling the very popular Acai bowls but had to find a way to keep them cold. Purchasing ice would deplete his profits so he thought of a solution and came up with the solar powered cooler design. Three years later, he has pushed the concept and is now working with various schools nationwide encouraging entrepreneurship and fundraising opportunities while also supporting hurricane affected areas such as health clinics in Dominica. Norris explained how part of his inspiration came from his family: “growing up in a close knit island community in Washington State had a huge influence on my life. I realized the importance of community values when I attended college, and sought out to create products/ideas that generate impact for those around me.”
Norris led a small group of seven students through a demonstration on the build, engineering and maintenance of the solar powered carts while emphasizing the importance of entrepreneurships and how “we need to retool the tools we have to create better communities.” Norris added “don't let anything/anyone hold you back from chasing your passion. Fear often hinders our internal desire to explore just beyond the edge of our comfort zone. Don't settle for surviving, aim to thrive!” Students spent an entire class period taking pieces apart, learning about the wiring and different solar components of the cart.
VIMSIA is a proud partner of SOULR carts and wishes Norris all the best as he continues to build out concepts and systems that will change the world. SOULR is currently working on with the Global Resilience Alliance, and a number of global non-profit/health organizations to build out Resilience Hubs everywhere. These hubs will exist to educate, equip, and inspire communities globally.