The world is filled with incredible stories about how young people have changed the world. For instance, Greta Thunberg from Switzerland has found success in convincing the world leaders to take climate change seriously. The field of entrepreneurship has seen similar revolutionary examples that have changed the world. These young entrepreneurs come from different backgrounds, have different stories, but an equal driving force – to succeed while contributing to the world in one way or the other. Some young entrepreneurs have created products that promise a better life, while others have generated employment and other lucrative opportunities for their associates.
We will look at TEN Young Entrepreneurs who changed the world with their innovative products and ideas.
da Bomb Bath
Two sisters started the Company – Caroline and Isabel Bercaw, aged 11 and 12 (in 2012), respectively, who loved creating their bath bombs. What began as a fun thing fad soon turned into a family business worth 20 million USD. The story of their enterprise started from a local art fair in Minneapolis. Their bath bombs were an instant hit at the fair, and it from there that the girls decided to give them a commercial twist. Soon, the girls were selling their bath bombs in over 20 local stores. In 2016, the girls secured store placements across the country through a trade-fair show in Atlanta. By now, the girls were producing around 20,000 pieces a month for these stores. Things take a major turn when a big retail chain, Target, called the girls and offered them a place in their 1800 stores. With their mom taking over as CEO and the girls focusing their energy on product development and marketing, the family went into action. The girls opted for on the job training during their schooling years, which helped them balance the work and studies. The girls love to talk about their journey and the hard work that has gone into the business. They are starting their college soon and hope to expand the company by leaps after acquiring the skills.
Nannies by Noa
Nannies by Noa is an all-round childcare agency aimed at families in New York City and Hamptons. Noa Mintz founded the company at the age of 16. She calls her business as a one-stop destination for finding reliable and educated nannied for all needs. The business provides part-time, full-time, and weekend care facilities to its customers. The company’s target customer base belongs to society’s premium segment, looking for dedicated professional help. Noa says that her business is ‘triggered by a problem, and created from a solution.’ In the last four years, Nannies by Noa has carved its name in the tri-state area that it serves. A small lesson fuel Noa that her middle school principal once gave her –
Early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable.
Mr. Cory’s Cookies
Cory Nieves was 6 when he sold his first batch of cookies. He wanted to get a car for his mother because he was fed up with traveling by train. He soon realized that he could sell even more cookies if he improves the recipe. In the next few years, Cory worked on finding the perfect recipe – searching on the internet, baking with his mom, exploring the kitchen – until finally, he and his mom found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. In the beginning, Cory and his mom sold the cookies at the local festivals and fares. The business was profitable, and eventually, in 2015, the sales jumped after Cory was invited to The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The show gave him the popularity he needed. The orders were pouring in, and the mother-son duo was unable to meet the demand. It was when they decided to go large scale. They got $100,000 from an appearance in CNBC’s The Profit. They soon hired ‘cookie helpers’ and started producing cookies on a large scale under Mr. Cory’s Cookies’ name. Fortune and fame followed. While we are writing this article, the company sells 14 different flavors of cookies.
Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue
Slime glue is a toy that every kid loves. However, only the kids know the trouble associated with finding the right slime glue. At the age of 12, Maddie Rae faced a similar dilemma. But, unlike other kids, she used this as an opportunity to experiment with different brands, variety, and types of glues to create the perfect slime for herself. Her creation was fantastic and loved by other kids, who wanted her to make it for them. This is where her entrepreneurial journey started. Maddie soon moved business online and now sells a range of slime, slime glue, and other fun accessories for kids. Not only this, but Maddie’s love for slime is also evident from the fact that she freely shares her insights on the ingredients, creation, and use of slime on her website. Interestingly, she has also broken the world record of the world’s largest slime. The story of Maddie is one of that of passion and love for a product. She carved her position in a market filled with big corporate names by working hard and finding the solution to every kid’s problem with slime.
At the age of 8, young Maya Penn found her love for the environment and began working towards saving it. She used old clothes to create headbands and scarves and created a website on her own using HTML. In 2008, she founded Maya’s Ideas, a company that started selling fashion accessories that did not harm nature. Her sustainable range of fashion accessories found several takers in the United States. Her audience loved how an 8-year-old was trying hard to save the future of the planet. Since then, the business has grown, and Maya Penn has become more than just an owner of a sustainable brand. She is an environmental activist. She openly advocates taking steps to save the planet by publicly speaking to the audience across the United States. She is also an author of You Got This! Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path and Change the World. She has been chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her youngest Supersoul 100 entrepreneur and thought leader. She has shared her thoughts as a TED speaker and a sustainability consultant.
R.J. Duarte gave up his opportunity to obtain a college degree because his landscaping business generated 6 figure income year after year. His enterprise started as a small part-time job when he was eight years old. His dedication and work ethic ensured that he always had work, and his popularity grew. At the age of 8, he partnered up with one of his friends and expanded the businesses to more localities. The company was named GreenWorx and continued for a few years. As the duo got older, Duarte’s friend decided to give up on the business and obtain a college degree. Duarte used this opportunity to take over the entire business and rebrand it. He quickly moved from small clientele to a more premium segment. In his words, the new business opportunities “comes with headaches, but without headaches, there’s no reward.” GreenWorx now operates several trucks and a crew of up to 15 members at times. Even without a college degree, Duarte has everything that is needed to run a successful business. In 2019, GreenWorx generated a revenue of $750,000.
“Change in tech wasn’t being distributed equally — not just geographically, but community-wise.” In her own words, Riya Karumanchi describes what baffled her and led to the development of a new white cane for blind people that could not just identify the obstacles on the ground, but could also sound an alarm when other dangers approached, like a branch. Riya taught herself to code since fourth grade. She was also a frequent visitor at the youth innovation program in Toronto. So, when she saw a problem with the white cane that hadn’t been changed in the last 100 years, she knew something had to be done. She figured out that ultrasonic sensors could be used to identify a wide range of obstacles. The user of the cane could then be alerted through vibration or sound. Furthermore, a navigation system could also be plotted using these sensors by identifying slippery and wet surfaces. Overall, the white cane that the blind people had been using was ready for an intelligent upgrade, and it was named the SmartCane. Riya has already secured $85,000 in funds from companies like Microsoft, Arrow Electronics, and Inertia Engineering. Her product prototype is ready, and the next step is user testing. The 16-year-old does not wish to build a billion-dollar company, but instead, wants to touch a billion people’s lives.
Two young brothers who love to solve problems found a problem that required some out of the box thinking. They accepted the challenge and started a company that has shipped several hundred kits to students and classes worldwide. 17-years-old Sidharth and 19-years-old Rohit Srinivasan love robotics, and they often flew from their home in Austin to India to teach the kids of the latter country about robotics. However, in 2015, they realized that usual robotic kits require wi-fi and fast computers, and not everyone has access to them. When they invented an affordable robotics kit, Trashbots allowed the kids to make robots using things that are readily available around them – like rubber bands, paper clips, and so on. They intended to teach kids about how to look at the things around them like they are tools. The duo believes that humans are limited only by their thoughts. And the product encapsulates the belief pretty well. The kits include motors, lights, speakers, sensors, gears, and axels that can be used to build various robots. The kit also comes along with a plan that spans over kindergarten through the 12th grade. In the future, the duo wants to expand its operations and find more problem solvers like them to reach more kids around the world.
Wise Pocket was started by an 11-year-old Sofia Overton when she saw her cousin putting her phone in her boots while on the move. She could instantly relate to the problem since her leggings too lacked pockets, and she would usually end up holding the phone in her hands all the time. Like any other younger sister, she also tried what her elder cousin did – put the phone in her socks. It would temporarily solve the problem, but as soon as she moved, the phone would slide down to the ankle. But this was precisely the problem that inspired Sofia to create her first wise Pocket. The prototype was a ‘wisely placed inside pocket’ in the upper part of the sock. Bam! This was it. The phone was secure in the sock and did not move. She launched the product in the market and on her website WisePocket, and it was an instant hit. The product was a favorite among kids with an active lifestyle. The socks were made depending upon the season and could not just be used for phone, but several different purposes – like coins, inhalers, and pens. Sofia is now planning her next product, a legging with WisePocket.
Me & the Bees Lemonade
At the age of four, Mikaila Ulmer was stung by a bee twice in a week, which induced fear of bees in her. However, a little research into the bees and Mikaila found herself fascinated by the buzzing creatures and how they contributed to our ecosystem. The bees’ fascination, combined with a family recipe of flaxseed lemonade shared with her for a competition, gave way to a drink that changed her life. She removed the sugar from the family recipe and added honey. This is how the popular drink, Me and The Bees, came into existence. Mikaila decided to donate a specific part of the revenue to help save the bees. She started the business at youth entrepreneurial events and lemonade stand outside her home. Ten years hence, her business has grown by more than 500 percent and now deals in several different flavors of the original recipe.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
The stories of all these young entrepreneurs are inspiring. They are not filled with multi-billion-dollar deals or take-overs, but they can teach you how passion, enthusiasm, and trust in your product can assist your long-term goals. The entrepreneurial journey has taught them a lot about the money and the responsibility it carries. And thus, it would be intriguing to see how these young ones can soon contribute to a better world.