American Morning

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March 19th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Young Biz Whiz

CNN's Jim Acosta reports on a college student who doubles as a CEO.
CNN's Jim Acosta reports on a college student who doubles as a CEO.

Twenty year old sophomore Ben Lewis is busy these days. When he's not studying for mid term exams he is traveling cross country pitching his own bottled water that he says has the power to change the world.

The latest product from corporate America comes from a baby faced University of Pennsylvania sophomore who shares a room with three other roommates. Today he is in Anaheim, California at a health foods trade show pitching his Give water brand to the big wigs from the likes of Pepsi and Coke.

The bottles come in different colors and a dime from each bottle sold goes to charity. Orange helps the fight against muscular disorders, pink is for breast cancer research, green goes to the environment and blue helps children fight AIDS.

Ben says "Our whole selling point is that it's not about the water, it's about the movement."

Lewis, a Pittsburgh native who sold lemonade as a kid, thought water would be a great vehicle to start a business so he started making deliveries out of the back of his car with a few friends and it quickly grew from there.

A bottling plant in upstate New York is supplying ten retail chains including Whole Foods and more chains are signing up. So far he says he has raised seventy-five thousand dollars for charities but has yet to turn a profit. All in due time he says.

One of the lucky recipients of his largesse is Dana Richardson-Heron, CEO of the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation based in New York. "If you have the choice to buy water that's going to benefit a corporation versus water that’s going to benefit an organization such as the Susan Komen foundation I think you'll choose Ben's water."

Ben doesn't worry about today's tough economy and the possibility that it may be an inopportune time to start a business, "I think it's a great time for an entrepreneur to start a business, I think you can make it happen as long as you have a great idea, a passion, a unique concept and the energy behind it."


Filed under: Business • Economy
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. thomas c. sanders

    March 19, 2009
    Thursday – noon

    To: Mr Ben Lewis

    American morning/CNN woke me up this am: with expose of your water company. I too am pursuing an assimulare path towards this 'same' business. I would welcome oppurtunity for us to exchange pertinent ideas. Please inform me of how we might best communicate. Thank You Very Much for your prompt response.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  2. Dr. Tracy Baker

    I watch American Morning every morning before I go to work and generally like your take on the news. But in one regard I think you are missing an important point regarding AIG and its handing out of millions to its executives of OUR money. Who approved that? Well, of course it is the U.S. Congress who created the bill by which that act was enabled. This is the same U.S. Congress who, not just once, but EVERY YEAR throws away not millions of dollars, but BILLIONS of dollars on "earmarks", programs designed to help them get re-elected in their home states, not help the American people. Then they have chutzpah(ok, I am not Jewish, but that word seems to express it best)to point their fingers at the executives of AIG and the "feathering" of their own nests. This is profound hypocrisy. This what they are doing every year with these earmarks in the Federal Budget. Don't you think everyone in the U.S. who sees this and recognizes it for what it is figures "What the heck, if our leaders in the Congress do it, why shouldn't we?" I watched Christopher Dodd giving his "mea culpa" this morning after putting the language in the AIG bailout bill that allowed the bonuses to AIG executives and I was nauseated. Don't you realize what he did? He knowingly LIED to the faces of the American people when he initially said he had no knowledge of that. And I will bet his constituents will be dumb enough to re-elect him. But what he did is the same as every member of Congress who signed that bill(all of them, I assume)did. Now they are huffing and puffing about the bonuses to try to save face. All the while, they are incredible hypocrites for criticizing what they do over and over. If you want to be real journalists, call them to task for that! It will take a lot of courage, but show me you have it.

    March 19, 2009 at 9:12 am |