- According to 2022 data, 60% of teens want to start their own business.
- Many young entrepreneurs operate throughout the U.S., including Gabby Goodwin and brothers Brandon and Sebastian Martinez.
- Becoming an entrepreneur at any age can be intimidating. To become a successful young entrepreneur, you should take strategic steps, including knowing your finances and understanding your passions.
Age does not determine capability or success. Whether someone is 18 or 81, they could have the same entrepreneurial spirit to chase their dreams.
In the world of entrepreneurship, a new generation of trailblazers is emerging, challenging the status quo and changing industries for the better. We are not talking about experienced executives — we are referring to the young entrepreneurs who are defying convention.
Ahead, we explore the stories of 15 young entrepreneurs in the U.S. In addition, we cover tips on how to become a young entrepreneur.
15 Young Entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Data shows that more teenagers than ever are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship. According to a 2022 survey from Junior Achievement USA, 60% of teenagers want to start their own business rather than work for someone else. Many young individuals have already started working to make their dreams a reality. Get ready to be impressed as we highlight 15 young entrepreneurs from across the U.S.
1. Aline Morse – Zolli Candy
At age seven, Aline Morse came up with a revolutionary concept: candy that tastes good and will not damage the health of your teeth. Shortly after the idea came to Morse, she created Zollipops, a vegan and tooth-healthy candy. Zollipops quickly expanded to become Zolli Candy and is sold in stores around the U.S. The young female entrepreneur has recently expanded her offering to taffy and drops. In addition, Morse established the Million Smiles Initiative, a program that promotes dental health education in schools.
2. Asia Newson – Super Business Girl
Asia Newson, a young Black entrepreneur, started her business, Super Business Girl, when she was just five years old. Newson began by reselling candles, while she learned to make her own, with her father acting as her mentor. With time, Newson started solely creating and selling her custom candles. To inspire other people her age, Newson has trained 40 other children across Detroit, MI, about her entrepreneurial skills.
3. Benjamin Stern – Nohbo
As a freshman in high school, Benjamin Stern sought a solution to plastic consumption in his biology class. His ambition resulted in the formation of the sustainability startup Nohbo. The company develops Nohbo Drops, single-use packets that contain personal care products, such as hair, body wash or shaving cream. These packets dissolve in water after the product inside is dispensed.
At 16 years old, Stern pitched his creation on “Shark Tank” and received an investment from entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Today, Stern is the CEO and is coming up with new solutions for plastic pollution.
4. Brandon and Sebastian Martinez – Are You Kidding
Brothers Brendon and Sebastian Martinez started their business, Are You Kidding, in 2014 when they were just preteens. The brothers design and sell a range of fun socks that help people elevate their style and support a range of causes. They partner with local and national charities and design a sock specifically for their cause to raise awareness and critical funds. Charities they work with include Stand Up To Cancer, Amigos for Kids and Autism Speaks.
5. Brighton Hood – Be the Change Bands
At just 14 years old, Brighton Hood started his business, Be the Change Bands, which creates rings, pendants and bracelets out of coins. He sources his materials from antique stores and coin shops and sells the finished products at U.S. craft fairs and through the e-commerce website Etsy. For every item sold, Hood donates 5% of the proceeds to charities.
6. Caleb Nelson – Romeo’s Rickshaws
In 2017, 14-year-old Caleb Nelson launched his business, Romeo’s Rickshaws, with his dad’s help. The pair launched the tip-only business during the annual Utah Shakespeare Festival, one of the state’s largest events. When he pitched the idea to his dad, he was challenged to come up with half of the funds needed to purchase two pedicabs.
By the end of the week, the teen raised the $5,000 he needed to get started. He did it by selling the spaces on the sides of each pedicab to local businesses to advertise. Nelson expanded the business to offer pedicab rides around downtown Cedar City and for events, such as weddings. In addition, the teen hired more riders and started offering tours of the city.
7. Cory Nieves – Mr. Cory’s Cookies
When he was only six years old, Cory Nieves started his entrepreneurial journey, which led to the creation of Mr. Cory’s Cookies, an all-natural cookie company. A craving for a cookie did not inspire his journey, as you may expect. It was a desire to get a family car so he would no longer have to take the bus to school.
The young Black entrepreneur started by selling hot cocoa around his community to raise money for the car. After raising enough money for a car, he started selling cocoa to raise money for college. Fueled to do more, Nieves expanded his business to sell cookies and lemonade. He and his mom worked on their cookie recipes, which they sold out of their home. Eventually, they moved their operations into a commercial kitchen, where they currently produce their product to sell across the U.S.
8. Evan Moana – EvanTubeHD YouTube Channel
When Evan Moana was eight years old, he started a YouTube channel with his dad. He called the channel EvanTubeHD and featured stop-motion videos. The channel expanded to feature video reviews of toys and video games and started raking in millions of dollars a year. With time, Moana grew his channel with more content and now has more than seven million followers. In recent years, he also launched a TikTok channel.
9. Gabby Goodwin – GaBBy Bows
When Gabby Goodwin was seven years old, she developed the double-faced double snap barrette with the help of her mom. The pair patented the hair clip design and established GaBBy Bows. Several years later, Goodwin created Confidence by GaBBy, a plant-based hair care line of products. Today, Goodwin serves as the CEO of the company and gives back to her community by offering business mentorship and hair care advice.
10. Hannah Grace – BeYOUtiful
In 2016, Hannah Grace’s father challenged her to create her artisanal bath bombs, one of her favorite products. After studying how to create them, Grace started a bath and beauty brand, BeYOUtiful. Within several weeks, Grace’s products were available for sale at local gift shops. Now, BeYOUtiful products are available online and at retail stores across the country. Since she has type 1 diabetes, Grace donates 10% of each purchase made online to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF).
11. Maddie Rae – Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue
When she was just 11, Maddie Rae set out to create her slime at the height of the craze. Determined not to get discouraged by a glue shortage, Rae spent months developing a new glue. At the same time, she created special packaging and developed her brand. In 2017, Rae launched Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue on Amazon and at select retailers. Over the years, the young female entrepreneur grew her brand to include several additional slime-making products.
12. Maya Penn – Maya’s Ideas
Young Black entrepreneur Maya Penn started her sustainably made clothing line, Maya’s Ideas, when she was only eight. At that time, she exclusively made colorful headbands with hand-dyed, organic materials. Three years after launching her line, she started a nonprofit called Maya’s Ideas 4 The Planet, which supports environmental justice and mental health, among other social efforts.
Today, Penn is the designer and CEO of the company, which expanded to include other sustainably made clothing items. In addition to her role at Maya’s Ideas, Penn is an environmental activist, accomplished author, artist and speaker.
13. Mikaila Ulmer – Me & The Bees Lemonade
Mikaila Ulmer was first inspired to start her company, Me & The Bees Lemonade, when she was just four years old. After getting stung by some bees at that age, she started researching the insects and the important role they play in our ecosystem. When she entered a children’s business competition, she developed the first iteration of her lemonade. Instead of using a standard lemonade mix, she used her grandma’s recipe, which she adapted by adding honey.
She started selling lemonade at local events and in front of her home and donated a portion of the proceeds to organizations working to help honeybees — something she still does today. With time, Ulmer’s business has grown more than 500% and is offered in five different flavors at many supermarkets, restaurants and other businesses. In her spare time, Ulmer speaks at events about social entrepreneurship and leads workshops about ways people can help the bees.
14. Michael Wahba – Hover-1 Cruze
At 14 years old, Michael Wahba decided to invent an electric skateboard. At the time, Wahba was frustrated with the electric skateboards on the market, all of which required a remote control. He started by partnering with the now-disbanded invention company, Quirky, to make his remote-less electric skateboard a reality. With time, the electric skateboard inspired the creation of Hover-1, a company that offers a line of hoverboards and e-scooters. Wahba’s products are for sale at BestBuy, Walmart and other retailers.
15. Miracle Olatunji – OpportuniMe
In her junior year of high school, Miracle Olatunji saw an opportunity to start a business after she participated in an entrepreneurship program. The result was OpportuniMe, a company dedicated to helping students find ways to gain career experience, network and explore their passions before attending college. Excited to do more, the young female entrepreneur has pushed herself to pursue several different passions. Most recently, she published her first book, became a public speaker and worked with major brands to launch campaigns.
Eight Tips to Become a Young Entrepreneur
No one is ever too young to pursue their entrepreneurial goals or create a life like that of these young, successful entrepreneurs. However, it is important to understand that preparing and getting started can be overwhelming. To increase your chances of becoming successful like one of these famous young entrepreneurs in the future, we put together a few tips below.
- Discover Your Passion: It is important to do work that aligns with your interests and skills. Before you start your entrepreneurial journey, take time to reflect on what makes you happy. If you are not passionate about what you do, you may lack the motivation and creativity you need to succeed.
- Understand Your Market: Having a good idea of how your market works is critical for success. This knowledge can help you identify unmet needs, which can guide you in creating a product or service that resonates with others. It can also help you tailor your business plan and marketing efforts.
- Know Your Finances: Understanding the ins and outs of your finances is crucial for entrepreneurial success. It can help you estimate whether your idea is feasible and ensure that you have enough funds and resources to open and sustain your business.
- Find a Mentor: Starting a new business requires work. Having someone with experience to refer to for guidance can help you learn and improve your entrepreneurial skills.
- Work on Your Business Knowledge: Opening a business requires more than a good idea. You need to consider finances, marketing and creative and general operations. While you can hire experts to handle different departments, you should brush up on your business knowledge. You can learn by shadowing others, taking courses, reading and networking.
- Plan Carefully: Taking time to craft a thoughtful plan is essential for starting your entrepreneurial journey. Developing a plan can help you set goals, establish a roadmap and think of potential challenges. These actions can allow you to understand how to create a solid framework for success.
- Be Adaptable: Given how unpredictable society, the economy and different industries can be, it is essential to be flexible. That way, you will be prepared to assess different situations and adjust your strategy or product/service offering if need be.
- Take Action: A plan and set of goals can only produce success with action. To be successful, you need to be willing to take calculated risks and implement your plans.
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