Rukhsana Kausar was just 10 years old when she took over her school's tuck shop.
At the time it only offered toast, but she soon expanded the list of treats, including ice cream which she sold at 150 per cent profit.
"Back then one of my teachers turned round to me and said 'if you're not a millionaire by the time you're 16, I want to know what went wrong,'" says the founding partner of Liquid of Life, which sells systems that convert humidity in the air into potable water.
But it took her another 25 years or so to launch the business.
After studying law and working in business development and management for legal firms in the UK and the UAE, as well as a quick stint as a financial planner, she started searching for opportunities in Dubai.
And being passionate about the environment, she scoured the internet for sustainable solutions.
"I came across a technology that you can use to create water by capturing the humidity and the moisture that's in the air.
"That seemed like an awesome concept because there is a lot of humidity here. We're surrounded by it all year round," she adds.
It was already possible to buy a system that worked indoors. But air conditioning strips out moisture, which makes the technology less efficient.
She found a system that generates the water from the air outside - anything between 10 to 100 litres a day depending on the size of the unit - and dispenses it indoors.
"We have small domestic systems that you can put into your house if you have a balcony or if you are in a villa, you can put the water generator outside … and it is piped into a dispenser where it is purified and filtered, and it is heated and chilled and then dispensed for drinking," says Ms Kausar.
It was a hard sell at first as many companies questioned whether it was capable of producing enough water.
And she learned to alter her pitch, as some companies were more interested in saving money than the planet.
"For me it was always about saving the environment and getting rid of the plastic.
"I realise as well that being an entrepreneur and making this business successful isn't going to be based on the ... reduction of the carbon footprint for the clients that I'm working with. It is based on how much money I'm going to be able to save them. Everything else is a plus for them," she adds.
She now counts companies such as Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company and Microsoft among her clients.
Ms Kausar claims her system is cheaper than having plastic bottles delivered, but the return on investment is about two to three years.
"There are some clients who will implement things if return on investment is less than one year. Anything over one year they are not going to touch," she adds.
"What I've done is that we can offer the technology on a lease or a lease to buy, so commercially it becomes attractive to them ... you've got to make it as easy as possible," she adds.
She admits her legal career came in handy when drawing up contracts with customers and suppliers, but she has no regrets about leaving it behind.
"I followed something I guess that seemed right at the time but it wasn't me, it wasn't in my heart to do that. I wasn't something that I was very passionate about," says Ms Kausar.
"I think from a very young age, when I look back at it now, I always had this entrepreneurial spirit inside me."