Once upon a time, a teen with an entrepreneurial streak had few options: babysitting, mowing yards or maybe a paper route.
These days, young people are designing clothing lines, designing apps and creating other businesses before they finish – or even start high school.
The 13-year-old fashion designer
Isabella Rose Taylor, who designed a clothing line now carried by Nordstrom, is only 13, according to this Forbes article. Taylor started to create her own clothing designs after not being able to find what she wanted in stores, according to the article. She and her parents went to Fashion Accelerator 360 for help manufacturing the clothes. And the business grew from there.
The ability to sell online and market through social media has created opportunities for entrepreneurs of any age that once would not have been possible.
Taylor started selling her clothing at small trunk shows at Austin boutiques. But spreading the word through social media and selling online helped her develop a global following, the Forbes article says.
“She just added a YouTube channel so teens could get to know her more personally. Instagram is great for reaching girls who are her age. Facebook is important, not just because it has the largest reach, but it draws an international audience. Twitter is good at general outreach,” Geri Stengel writes in the Forbes article.
The 15-year-old bio entrepreneur
Business News Daily featured news about Nicole Ticea, a 15-year-old from Vancouver, Canada, who devised an early-stage test that analyzes a pinprick of blood and can tell if a person has recently been infected with HIV.
“Many of these teens have gone above and beyond just creating successful businesses. They are helping the world at large, contributing to the health industry, saving the environment, and helping those who are less fortunate,” the article says.
The 17-year-old app developer
At just 17, Nick D’Aloisio of London made big news in May 2013 when he sold his news summary app, Summly, to Yahoo last year for $30 million. He told the New York Times he was arranging to test out of his last year and a half of high school and planning to work in Yahoo’s London office.
The 21-year-old venture capitalist
“For teenagers who fancy themselves entrepreneurs — and their parents, too — the news of the sale conjured up some feelings of inadequacy, but also awe. For Brian Wong, the 21-year-old founder of Kiip, a mobile rewards company, the reaction was downright laughable: “I feel old!”
A few years ago, Mr. Wong was described in the news media as the youngest person ever to receive venture capital funding. But a couple of younger founders came along — “and then Nick broke all of our records,” Mr. Wong said.
The amazing success of teens such as D’Aloisio and Taylor should inspire all of us.
In writing about Taylor, Forbes emphasized how far the 13-year-old has come, and how far she can go.
“What’s next for Taylor? Like von Fürstenberg and Zuckerberg, she wants to be a global brand — though I don’t think either von Fürstenberg or Zuckerberg had global aspirations as a teenager. Taylor isn’t afraid to dream big. She isn’t just an inspiration to girls but also to women. Both should go for the brass ring.”