Last year, Tilak Mehta had the city’s business world scratching its heads in wonder—he had founded a logistics startup, sold the idea to a banker, persuading him to quit his job and join him as the Chief Executive, and also roped in Mumbai’s famed dabbawalas to handle the last-mile distribution… A rather brilliant business model, especially for one who is just 13! Young Tilak’s inspiration came from a personal problem; he had needed a few books from the other end of the city urgently. Not wanting to stress out his father, tired after a day’s work, the idea popped into his head: why not have a startup dedicated to carrying papers and small parcels within the city for assured intra-day delivery? Researching the concept and running a beta for four months, Papers N Parcels (PNP) is up and running. It uses a dedicated mobile application for business and employs 200 besides 300 dabbawala partners, through whom it handles up to 1,200 deliveries daily. “It is my dream and I will work to ensure that the business becomes big,” says its teenaged founder, who is clearly not resting on his laurels.
For some kids—and the number seems to be steadily growing—the spirit of entrepreneurship catches on early. Running a business appears just as thrilling and doable as cracking an entrance exam or pursuing football. Their creativity, professionalism, risk-taking, passion, planning, knowledge, social skills, open-mindedness towards learning, people, and even failure, empathy and attitude of the customer is everything, is nothing short of astounding— ideal qualities of a successful entrepreneur that many of us never quite approach even through adulthood. What they may lack in life experience and wisdom, they more than makeup for with passion, drive, and optimism galore. There is indeed much that even small business owners can learn from these kid entrepreneurs who are business powerhouses in the making
Take 12-year-old Farrhad Acidwalla who realised that there wasn’t an online space dedicated to aviation, where enthusiasts could discuss their interest in aeromodelling and decided to fix it. Teaching himself web design and programming, he ventured into the world of online business after selling his first website. Founder of Rockstah Media, and worth approximately $4 million, Farrhad now travels the globe giving speeches which often focus on one’s need to take action in business. It is the bedrock of his beliefs—that the only one holding us back is ourselves, so we need to overcome our limitations, venture out of our comfort zone and take action.
…Something Neha Gupta did at age 9. Traveling with her family to India from a young age, carrying gifts and food to orphans living in their hometown, she knew that she could do more. Making homemade wine charms, selling them door-to-door and throughout her community, Neha raised money for education and school books, helping cover expenses for orphans. As founder of her non-profit organisation, Empower Orphans, she has raised well over a million and has received many awards. You can make a difference—and how!— as you pursue success.
It didn’t take too long for Moziah Bridges, who founded his funky bow tie company, to learn the importance of delegating work. After developing his online business at age 9, post learning to make bow ties himself from vintage fabrics from his grandma’s closet, he realised that he had grown too big to do it all singlehandedly. While his mother handles the business while he is at school, he has also hired seamstresses to help with the orders. Along with drive and passion, it’s crucial to build a team of trusted people and give up the need to control everything. Building and then delegating is key.
Leanna Archer of Leanna’s Essentials, a range of organic hair products, went through her share of hiccups before turning her homemade products business into a company worth $5 million. The 11-year-old believes failures can influence success, and as she continues to grow and develop her business, she will not allow the fear of falling to hold her back.
Like Mikaila Ulmer, who added local honey to her great grandma’s flaxseed lemonade recipe, donating the profits to help save the dying bee population, these young achievers teach us that it is passion that is one of the greatest motivators which drives success. It provides the motivation to continue even after encountering challenging obstacles when converting that passion into a business. Mikaila’s brand, Bee Sweet lemonade incidentally was picked up by Whole Foods for a whopping $11 million, and she continues to give a portion of the profits to help save the bees.
The results are satisfying on many levels. Sixteen-year-old Noa Mintz, who runs a full-service childcare agency in New York City, believes that the best part by far is the fact that she is a job creator and has been able to get so many people employed. Mintz, who is on Fortune’s list of the 18 most innovative and ambitious teens under 18 years of age, finds this “rewarding and empowering.”
Money, incidentally, is never the main driving force. For Mihir Garimella, creator of Firefly, a low-cost, intelligent drone for first-responders that can enter and explore dangerous environments to find people who are trapped, it’s all about digging into problems that he sees or experiences. For Shubham Banerjee, founder of Braigo Labs, it’s about “innovating for the right reasons—money is not one of them.” And like Haile Thomas, founder of Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth (HAPPY) believes, it’s all about being a leader not a follower. Last but not least, as Bella Tipping, founder of Kidzcationz.com, avers, ‘If you can think it, you can do it.’ May their tribe increase!
Arjun Santhosh Kumar
Founder & CEO - LateraLogics
At mere 13 years of age, Kumar founded his own company, LateraLogics and developed two award-winning apps, namely Ez School Bus Locator and iSafeGuard.
LateraLogics is a technology company started with a vision to come up with solutions that will help make our world a better place to live! It focuses on custom apps development, web development and consulting.
An innovative Android app, Ez School Bus Locator aids parents in viewing the live location of their child’s school bus on map. On the other hand, iSafeGuard is a women and teen safety mobile app that helps them in sending distress calls or SOS messages with location details to the pre-set list of friends and family along with local community volunteers with the same app.
Shravan & Sanjay Kumaran
Co-Founder & President (Shravan) and Co-Founder & CEO (Sanjay) - GoDimensions
Identified as India’s youngest app developers, the Kumaran brothers have launched and developed 12 apps, which offer solutions to some of the most challenging social problems in India. They founded GoDimensions, a technology company with focus on developing simple solutions for the digital world, when Shravan was 12 years old and Sanjay was 10 years old. The duo looks forward to donating 15 per cent of their total profits to charity.
Founder & CEO - eDesign Technologies
Suresh embarked on her entrepreneurial journey at the tender age of 10. She established eDesign Technologies, a website designing company that offers services such as website design, web development, SEO and logo designing. The youngest web designer girl and CEO in the world, Suresh has already designed and developed more than 100 websites for various institutions and organisations including Bar Council of Kerala, Angels International, EHP India, Mammas Passion, and others.
Founder & CEO - Asian Fox Developments (Group of Companies), Global Web Mount, Mind-In Advertising and Group For Buddies
The young entrepreneur started working with computers professionally at the age of 11. Over the years, Chawla gathered knowledge of over seven computer programming languages using books and internet. At the age of 11, he founded a social utility for people to connect with each other globally, on January 1, 2011 called Group For Buddies, and on March 7, 2011 he founded an IT company for IT solutions called Asian Fox Developments. On May 15, 2013 he founded a company for web solutions called Global Web Mount, and on July 27, 2013 he founded another company for Media & Marketing services called Mind-In Advertising.
Founder - Braigo Labs Inc.
Braigo Labs was founded by Banerjee in 2014 when he was only 12 years old. The company offers low-cost Braille printers to aid visually impaired individuals. Braigo and BraigoLabs are registered trademarks of Braigo Labs Inc. Banerjee believes, “Technology should help us to make our life easier and not become a burden due to high cost”. The latest model uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to print text from a website and translate it into Braille automatically.
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