11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Brings STEM Toy Line to Whole Foods


January 30, 2024

Young entrepreneur Ava N. Simmons, creator of Team Genius Squad, is set to introduce the Alternative Energy Experiment Kit series in Whole Foods Market stores, according to a press release. The toy brand focuses on American-made science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) toys and channels its profits into funding community STEM activities and supporting Ava’s academic journey.

Ava, who was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2021, embraces her learning differences, viewing them as unique strengths. Now 11, she began her STEM entrepreneurial journey at the age of 7, supported by her family, including her 75-year-old grandmother, Mary Lee Foy, who serves as her Senior Advisor. “We are so proud of Ava for using her learning journey to encourage others,” said her parents, Terrence and Tita Simmons.

“To see STEM toys I developed on the shelf is a dream come true. We are excited to work with Whole Foods Market and make our STEM toys accessible to more families across the country,” said Ava. “I used STEM to build my confidence and overcome my learning challenges. I want to encourage other children to believe in themselves and focus on their unique strengths.”


Throughout the year, Ava travels with her “Squad,” partnering with community organizations like Rootle (North Carolina’s PBS Kids Channel), The Boys and Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties, The Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina, and Marbles Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina, to deliver purposeful play curriculum. Team Genius Squad continues to inspire learning and exploration, making a positive impact on children from all walks of life.

Cover Photo: Ava N. Simmons, creator of Team Genius Squad / Credit: Team Genius Squad

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