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Girl, 16, is published author and successful business owner


An INSPIRING teenager from the US already has a longer résumé than most people double her age.

Meet Maya Penn - a 16-year-old philanthropist, environmental activist, entrepreneur, eco-designer, inspirational speaker, artist, animator, coder, illustrator and author recently honoured at the Black Girls Rock ceremony in America.

When she was eight years old, Maya founded Maya’s Ideas, a company that creates eco-friendly clothing and accessories. Her designs are sold all over the world and up to 20 per cent of her profits go to local and global charities and environmental organisations.

Maya has been featured in respected publications, including CNN and the Huffington Post, and has done three TED Talks since she has been in business, with her TEDWomen Talk going viral clocking up over a million views.

“I am the youngest female to do two back-to-back official TEDTalks. I spoke at the launch of IBM Verse,” she said.

When Maya was four, her dad taught her how to take apart a computer and put it back together, sparking her love of technology, youth site, The Young Empire reported.

“I built my first website myself, and I’m learning JavaScript and HTML 5 so I’m really hands on in all aspects of my business,” she added.

She is also working on a project with her non-profit where she has created eco-friendly sanitary pads for girls in developing countries and recently released her debut book, You Got This, where she shares details of her journey and gives readers tips on how tap into their creativity and find their passion.

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