Young and Successful: Entrepreneurship at any age

Beautiful happy woman enjoying freedom outdoors

When you hear the word ‘entrepreneur’, what first springs to mind? You may well have a specific idea of what a real entrepreneur looks like. However, entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and are male and female, young students and experienced professionals. They have varying levels of formal education (Richard Branson didn’t even finish school) and have an array of personality types. Additionally, in reality, age has absolutely no bearing on being or becoming an entrepreneur.

The concept of an entrepreneur is quite simple: It involves the development, organisation and management of any business venture, large or small. An entrepreneur is a person who conceives, designs, launches and operates a new business. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs are very young (just as, conversely, it is never too late in life to become one). Consider these few examples:

  • 12-year-old Shubham Banerjee invented a Lego Braille printer (Braigo) for visually-impaired people in 2014. His concept was initially bankrolled by his pocket money, but within a year he had secured funding from Intel.
  • 27-year-old Alexa von Tobel founded LearnVest, a company now valued at around USD$100 million, which offers financial tools and services to women.
  • Savannah Britt was 14 when she launched GirlPez.
  • 13-year-old Laurence Rook devised Smart Bell, a doorbell that notifies your mobile phone. It means you can talk to visitors who come to your home as to deter thieves.
  • Jennifer Hyman, 31, and Jenny Fleiss, 28, founded Rent the Runway, allowing users to rent designer clothing at a fraction of what it could cost to purchase. Their business is worth around USD$105 million.
  • Daniel Kafie, 28, and Josh Kushner, 26, co-founded Vostu, an online gaming site that’s now worth about USD$300 million.
  • 26-year-old Aaron Levie founded Box.net, an online file-sharing platform, which is valued at approximately USD$550 million.
  • Tumblr, now worth an estimated USD$800 million, was created by David Karp, aged 25.
  • Mark Zuckerberg was just 20 when he co-launched Facebook from his college dorm room. He has no college degree to this day and his net worth is now almost $50 billion.

So what does it take to be an entrepreneur? Determination, confidence, self-belief, tenacity, enjoyment of learning and self-development, passion, adaptability, networking skills, sales and promotional skills, and an understanding that there will be challenges. You have to be able to roll with the punches.

Entrepreneurs are innovators and visionaries. Rather than following, they take the lead. And we all know that age is no barrier to imagination and a go-getter attitude.

Do you want to start your own business? Hear some of the success stories at the Rare Birds Con 2016 on 8-9 June, where you can also attend a workshop by Jan Owen, from Foundation for Young Australians, on ‘Encouraging Australia’s Astonishing Young Minds’.

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