Entrepreneur Creates Storybook Apps to Represent More Children of Color

Ameka Ali talks creating an application development company that teaches science and joy to children

Ameka Ali (Image: Ali)

As the founder of Higher Mind Apps, Ameka Ali’s journey to entrepreneurship can be summed up in one sentence: If something doesn’t exist, you must create it.

“Buying books and checking out books from the library made me realize female heroines were non-existent in children’s literature,” said Ali. “I also found we were non-existent in the publishing world. So I decided to write stories for children with characters who look like them. I self-published the picture book apps to meet children where they are, using today’s technology to bring educational content in the fastest growing medium—portable devices.”

[Related: 4 Back-to-School Apps for Parents and Students]

Higher Mind Apps develops animated picture book apps, such as the Ameka Love brand for children age 3-10. Each interactive picture book app takes children on a journey covering traditional subjects like science, and unconventional topics like yoga. “Every little girl is the inspiration behind each Ameka Love story,” said Ali.

Ameka Love represents the brown girls throughout the world. Neuroscientific research over the past few years has shown us that reading can develop and hone key socialization skills, such as empathy and compassion. If no characters in books look like you, your sense of self-worth is diminished. You don’t feel valued. When I write the stories, I think about the psychological impact a young female heroine has on the psyche and subconscious mind. I know our girls need to see a reflection of their own unique beauty, and they need see their inner strength, power, and what they can create just by focusing and having a goal.”

For Ali, making the decision to take the leap from her cushy full-time job as a supervisory contracting officer at a federal agency to entrepreneur, was more about having an impact and freedom than making money.

“I had one foot in my full-time job and the other foot building my own business for a number of years. But before taking the leap I dedicated my time to Higher Mind Apps during lunch breaks, the evenings, and weekends. When my children slept, I worked. After I had my second child I decided, ‘it’s now or never.’ When others were partying, I was working. Higher Mind Apps©™ has allowed me to build the Ameka Love ©™ brand, allow my creativity to flourish, spend more time with my family, and develop apps and products that have a positive impact on my community and the precious minds of our youth.”

While making plans to market and grow the Ameka Love series into a globally-recognized lifestyle brand, Ali still finds the time to juggle the needs of her family, including a husband and three beautiful children.

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the trailblazer in technology to learn more about her journey.

BlackEnterprise.com: Tell us about your background.
Ali: I have a  bachelor of science degree in aviation management from Hampton University with an executive masters in public administration from Golden Gate University. My professional history spans from working on multi-million dollar information technology (IT) contracts at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to acquisition financial management at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

I started my first business in the 5th grade, making and selling jewelry, and when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied, ‘I want to own my own Texaco!'” The tech industry is a 180’ from the oil and gas industry, but I love it because nothing is better than having an artistic vision that I can bring to the world via apps, and it is lucrative and uplifting to our children at the same time.

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