Growing a small company into a universal brand is like climbing a mountain; the journey has many obstacles. For a leader, a positive attitude inspires him/her to keep moving forward. One such innovative leader is Kiyeon Nam, the Inventor, Founder, and CEO of B’ZT® (Beacon Zone Technology).
Kiyeon’s passion and dedication to create something new are unmatched. Her experience as a fashion designer and business merchandiser brings a special kind of creativity and affordability to fashion technology. In addition, her desire to improve herself and everyone around her makes her a great leader.
Compassionate for the Vulnerable
The global issue of missing children is staggering. According to FBI statistics, one child in America goes missing every minute. Young children, especially with autism and similar conditions, are prone to wandering off. Researchers have found that almost half of autistic children attempt to wander away, usually into dangerous situations.
The tracking device industry is full of gadgets that are uncomfortable to wear, easy to lose, or require monthly fees. They offer unique but expensive products that don’t gear towards safety. The devices also lose functionality after washings.
Nevertheless, there is an old saying that states amid chaos, there is opportunity. Using her expertise in fashion design, Kiyeon created B’ZT after temporarily losing her 3-year-old daughter at a shopping mall because she couldn’t find a location-based tracking device that was suitable or comfortable for her child.
Kiyeon created B’ZT to keep parents and children safe and connected, both here in North America and around the world. B’ZT is an award-winning personal safety solution, combining fashion and geo-fence tracking technology to prevent missing children and adults. She came up with a comfortable and cost-effective solution for tracking children and vulnerable individuals using Smart Clothing and smartphone apps.
Ability to Think Outside the Box
Many Internet of Things developers build their solutions first to target big enterprise customers. Kiyeon took a different path. She wanted to solve an everyday problem that parents and caregivers experience with children and vulnerable seniors. B’ZT products and apps were developed for parents like herself, and they were soon evolved to be the safety solution for teachers, institutional caregivers and enterprise customers. The Women In Cloud Microsoft Cloud Accelerator inspired her to think out of the box and see the global potential of utilizing IoT technology to take B’ZT to another level.
An Inspiring Business Savvy
Before B’ZT, Kiyeon worked as a professional in the fashion industry for more than 20 years. Naturally, her vision of B’ZT’s potential was limited to a Direct-to-Consumer model, similar to other fashion brands. She didn’t embrace the concept of the IoT and the lucrative data yielded by software customization and cloud computing. Women in Cloud revolutionized her thinking by giving a visionary mindset of what B’ZTcould actually be.
Women in Cloud showed Kiyeon that B’ZT is not merely a consumer safety solution but an IoTSmart Wear Solution with enormous scalability. She can customize the company’s patented hardware and software so that fashion brands, retailers, and hyper-scalers can license its solution. Kiyeon believes that Women in Cloud is truly a great platform for female entrepreneurs to network, collaborate, and succeed together.
Advancing Human Connection
After the Women in Cloud accelerator program, Kiyeon received an email from Dr. Pereira-Smith at Medical University of South Carolina saying that B’ZT had finally been approved by the institution’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). She still remembers the pediatrician’s first call last summer during the pandemic, “I recommend your products to the families [with autistic children] I work with.” Through the MUSC, Kiyeon has fulfilled the bulk shipment of the smart chipsets to 100 families with children with autism.
A few days after the enterprise order, CCS Disability Action in New Zealand called Kiyeon to tell that B’ZT was a lifesaver. One of the families that was using a B’ZT T-shirt for their 5- year old autistic child was able to stop her right before she walked toward a highway. CCS is considering a re-order.
B’ZT is not a gadget that you sometimes use and sometimes don’t. Kids’ safety is serious. That is why Kiyeon had to try and fail 11 times to come up with the latest version of the B’ZT machine washable smart chipset. She says B’ZT has a different purpose in the IoT world. Its mission is saving lives in the safest way possible.
Keep Moving Forward!
Here are a few ideas that Kiyeon would like to see implemented over the next 5 years:
- Companies could offer semi-annual investment grants to 12 female-led businesses that operate within the same sector. These entrepreneurs can utilize the grants to grow their enterprises as they see fit.
- Companies can partner with female-focused associations or small business programs to sponsor mentorships of select female-founded companies for 1 year.
- Stipends and scholarships can be created by companies for promising female entrepreneurs who need to further their education that would benefit their enterprise.
- Companies can take an active role in bringing younger women into the STEM field by offering both internships and scholarships. The number of female entrepreneurs has been increasing over the years, but so much more can be done.
The ideas that Kiyeon has put forth are merely a foundation in which female entrepreneurs can get a bigger seat at the table with the help of the Fortune 1000.