9 amazing teen entrepreneurs
From bow ties to charities to apps, these teens are making a splash in the business world.
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Nick D'Aloisio of Summly. Yahoo acquired D'Aloisio's company for $30 million in August. (Photo: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)
Entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger these days. Stories of people launching startups right out of college and becoming CEOs in their 20s seem to pop up everywhere. But it turns out some of us don't even need to reach college age to start a successful company: These business owners aren't even out of their teen years yet! Check out our list of incredible young entrepreneurs that made a name for themselves before they could drive a car.
Leanna Archer of Leanna's Hair
Leanna Archer was just 9 years old when she began bottling and selling her own hair pomade to friends and family. Based on her great-grandmother's secret recipe, Archer's line of all-natural hair products has expanded to include a variety of hair cleansers, conditioners and treatments. The now-17-year-old serves as the CEO of her company and has been recognized by prominent business publications like Forbes and Success Magazine. She even started the Leanna Archer Education Foundation to help build schools and safe learning environments for underprivileged children in Haiti.
Robert Nay of Nay Games
In December 2010, a new mobile game app called "Bubble Ball" was launched on the Apple app store. In its first two weeks it received more than 1 million downloads, surpassing "Angry Birds" as the most downloaded free game from Apple. This game was built entirely by Robert Nay, a 14-year-old with no previous coding experience. According to CNN, Nay learned everything he needed to know through research at the public library, and produced 4,000 lines of code for his physics-based puzzle game in just one month. The teen entrepreneur's company, Nay Games, released 24 new levels for "Bubble Ball" in August 2013.
Lizzie Marie Likness of Lizzie Marie Cuisine
Like many little girls, 6-year-old Lizzie Marie Likness (at right) wanted to ride horses. To pay for horseback riding lessons, she began selling homemade baked goods at her local farmers market. Eventually Marie realized that cooking was her true passion, and with the help of her parents, she built a healthy-cooking website with instructional videos to help kids eat better. Now 13, Likness has taught cooking classes, appeared on the "Rachael Ray Show," and starred in her own WebMD video series, "Healthy Cooking with Chef Lizzie," through her culinary business venture.
Moziah Bridges of Mo's Bows
Most young boys are revolted by the idea of getting dressed up, but Moziah Bridges is a rare exception. After being disappointed in the bow ties available to him on the market, Bridges learned how to sew his own with the help of his grandmother. The fashion-forward 11-year-old began selling his creations on Etsy, and his products were soon picked up by boutiques in several southeastern states. So far, Bridges has earned over $30,000 from his bow ties, and told Forbes that he eventually plans to start a children's clothing company.
Neha Gupta of Empower Orphans
From an early age, Neha Gupta (at right, in 2011) has participated in her family's tradition of celebrating birthdays by traveling to India and bringing food and gifts to orphans in their hometown. In 2005, when Gupta was 9 years old, she decided she wanted to do more to make a real difference in these children's lives. She began selling handmade wine charms door-to-door and at community events to raise money for school books and other educational expenses for orphans. These efforts led her to create her own registered nonprofit organization, Empower Orphans. Gupta, now 17, has raised more than $1 million and has received awards from numerous charitable foundations.
Jaden Wheeler and Amaya Selmon of Kool Kidz Sno Konez
Jaden Wheeler and Amaya Selmon started making snow cones with a blender and an extension cord in front of their Memphis, Tenn., home two years ago. Since then, the brother and sister team have upgraded quite a bit: at ages 12 and 11, respectively, they are now the youngest food truck owners in Memphis. In a Huffington Post feature on Kool Kidz Sno Konez, Jaden and Amaya explained that their mother purchased the truck for them after seeing how successful their (very) small business had become. The truck, which is usually stationed in local parks or at private events, now offers hot dogs, nachos, and more than 20 snow cone flavors.
Nick D'Aloisio of Summly
How many teens can say that a multinational corporation purchased their company and made them millionaires? There's probably not a lot, but Nick D'Aloisio is one of them. The 17-year-old entrepreneur is the tech prodigy behind Summly, a summarization app that algorithmically creates summaries of news articles optimized for the iPhone. At 15, he received backing from Horizon Ventures and other angel investors to develop his technology, and in March 2013, Yahoo acquired D'Aloisio's company for $30 million.
Anshul Samar of Elementeo (Alchemist Empire Inc.)
As a fourth grader, Anshul Samar loved playing card games. Two years later, he began developing his own, which he called Elementeo. Samar aimed to make chemistry fun with his board-based game, which involves pitting personified versions of each element on the periodic table against each other to "capture" electrons. Since the first iteration of Elementeo, Samar, now a 19-year-old Stanford University student, has continued to update the game and created a grant fund for other young entrepreneurs, says in a Taking on the Giant article. He has even given a TEDx Talk (an independently organized TED Talk) on his game.
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