From the viral phenomenon Caine’s Arcade to sisters who started a business with the leftover materials from their parents’ beekeeping hives, kids these days are dreaming up all kinds of new businesses. Look for these signs that they just might be the next Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey.
1. Problem-solving skills
So many of the tech startups we read about today have started with the founders’ desire to solve a problem. Problem-solving skills are helpful in all aspects of life, but for an entrepreneur they are essential. A great example is the company Sweet Bee Sisters. The natural beauty line was started by three sisters who realized that they could make lip balm and lotion with the beeswax left over from their parents’ hives. Once they realized they had access to the materials, they researched recipes and started their business.
2. The desire to have their voice be heard
When done safely, the internet can be a great place for kids to voice their opinions and share their expertise. That’s exactly what Leila Kaufman started doing (with the help of her dad) on her toy review site, Rethink Toys. Leila was frustrated that the toys designed for her age group — especially the tech-related ones — were all being covered and reviewed by adults. She began a video series that reviewed toys from a kid’s perspective.
3. A driving passion
Who could forget Caine’s Arcade? The documentary shared the story of then 9-year-old Caine Monroy who built an elaborate, working arcade all out of cardboard at his father’s auto parts store. His love of arcades and games and prizes led him to create his own. Caine wasn’t sure if there would ever be any customers, but his passion for building the arcade is what made it all a success. Of course, a healthy dose of imagination and a film crew helped too.
4. Money motivation
It’s perfectly natural for kids to want to earn, save and spend money — especially if there’s something they want. That’s how Lizzie Likness got her healthy baked goods and online cooking site started. At age 6, she wanted to take horseback riding lessons, but wanted to pay for them on her own. With her parents’ help she started selling healthy baked treats at a local farmers market. That eventually led to the creation of her website and video cooking classes, Lizzie Marie Cuisine.
5. The desire to make a difference
The desire to give back to those less fortunate is a strong driver for young entrepreneurs. Whether it’s by volunteering their time or by starting a program that donates old toys or clothes to those in need, doing good is a great way to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit. Take for example Neha Gupta, founder of Empower Orphans, a non-profit that helps orphans get the education and skills they need and might not otherwise have access to.
Support that budding entrepreneurial spirit even more with resources from the Young Americans Center for Financial Education. They host four Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace events each year and teach classes for kids of all ages.