Archive for Youngest Entrepreneurs

The Spark Smart Watch (for sleep)

Eddy Zhong had no prior experience in the field of entrepreneurship, but has shown that to create a successful tech-startup you do not need to. At age seventeen, Zhong started up a technology company called Blanc Inc that manufactured smart watches unlike any other kind. The Blanc Smartwatch, called Spark, is a motion censored watch that vibrates when it senses the user is falling asleep. The estimated revenue for the first year of the watch is projected to make $70,000. The target market for Spark is to students, medical professionals, and security guards who tend to have trouble staying awake. The price for the Spark is between $50 to $100.

Zhong got the idea from his brother, who had difficulty staying awake during a test after studying too much. To build his prototype without funding, Zhong used his connections through friends and school. His startup work force composes of other high school students like himself and first worked out of the Cambridge Innovation Center.

After establishing Blanc Inc., Eddy dropped out of high school. In addition to Eddy’s start up business, he has invested in a summer camp with a concentration of entrepreneurship. It will be called Leangap and is targeted for teenagers. Students that are looking to attend Leangap have come from across the world. The program will be the first of its kind and involve building and coding. Leangap will be held in Cambridge, MA, which is Eddy’s hometown.

Zhong will continue to enterprise. He also looks to attend Babson College, which has the most prestigious program in entrepreneurship.

Snap Caps – Maddie Bradshaw

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Maddie Bradshaw was worth her first million at only 13 years old.  At 16, she was selling over 60,000 of her unique necklaces a month and making over $1.6 million annually.

Her idea for these unique, interchangeable, bottle cap necklaces started out as simple school locker decorations.  At 10 years old her uncle had given her 50 old bottle caps.  She decorated them, attached magnets to them, and when her friends saw them they all wanted some.  This inspired Maddie to create different designs with bottle caps.

She created Snap Caps.  Snap Caps are necklaces with metal pendants on them to attract and magnetize bottle caps.  Every bottle cap has some kind of symbol, letter, or design so that a person can swap different caps out depending on the style they want to wear for the day.

Maddie found immediate success with her necklaces.  In nearly every store she launched them in they all sold out.  As her business continued to grow and she made her first million at 13, she attracted the attention of the national media and ended up being interviewed on ABC and was able to pitch her project on Shark Tank.  The Sharks loved her idea so much that THREE of them invested into her company!

Currently 19 years old, Maddie continues to grow and expand her business.  She has said, “The great thing about our company is that it’s growing with me.  As my tastes change, so will the products.”  Maddie has also published a book called You Can Start a Business, Too.  Her advise to other young entrepreneurs like her is to, “Follow your passion. If you come up with an idea and you love it, chances are other people will, too.”

ReThink: A Millennial Entrepreneur’s Solution to Cyberbullying

Remember that one time someone said something at school and it hurt you, to the point that you remember it to this day? Maybe you experienced some form of bullying, a lot of people can identify with at least one case. Most of us grew up as kids without cellphones or access to internet for that matter. Verbal bullying consisted of what you could say to another person face to face or on the phone. With the introduction of the cell phone and mcyberbullying-benjaminmadeira-comost kids owning one, communication advances into other mediums. But with this easy mode of communication comes more ways to bully. Words over text last longer, but words can also be edited from the initial thought unlike face to face communication. So, many parents and school systems ask the question: Is there any way to try and limit text bullying without censorship of free speech?

Trisha Prabhu is a 16 year old female social entrepreneur with her mind set on creating something that diminishes cyberbullying. Trisha, around 13 years old started formulating an idea that limits bullying that takes place within the school system. She designed an app called ReThink. Over the past years, Trisha has won countless awards and finally got her idea officially endorsed by a shark on the show Shark Tank.

ReThink is an app that can be purchased by school systems where the app can be implemented to all electronics owned by the school. When kids go to respond to a message, if they use language that sounds offensive in nature, a message will pop up and ask if they would like to reword their text. This mere pause before sending has been proven to diminish cyberbullying immensely.

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Being someone who is weary about any speech censorship, I actually find this app to be acceptable because it doesn’t prohibit anyone from speaking what they think, just suggesting that they maybe rethink how they say it. It’s obvious to see that Trisha has compassion and a heart to help others, but she also has an eye to see a solution to a problem that seemed almost hopeless for many online. As an entrepreneur, she inspires me to not look past problems that are just socially accepted as how it will always be. As a communications major, she shows me how we can promote healthy communication without infringing on people’s rights to free speech.

Hart Main- ManCans

You don’t have to have made huge strides to be considered an entrepreneur.  This is why I find Hart Main’s story not only amusingly adorable, but also inspirational for all young kids (and adults) with creative minds. Hart is a 14-year old that came up with the idea of manly scented candles, which he has wittingly branded as ManCans.

He came up with this idea when he was teasing his sister about the “girly scented” candles she was selling for a school fundraiser. Hart wanted to take a spin on the average candle and direct it at a different than normal audience, men.  Although his family didn’t expect him to pursue the manly scented candles idea himself, he did. Hart’s idea has since turned into a nationwide success.

He put in an initial investment of $100, his parents put in $200, and together they all worked on developing the candles. Some of the available scents include: Campfire, Bacon, Sawdust, Fresh Cut Grass, Grandpa’s Pipe and more. Currently, ManCans’ candles are in over 60 stores across the country and have sold about 9,000 units. Hart plans to stick with selling ManCans’ inventory until he has to shift his focus back into school, he is only 14 after all.

Hart Main specifically inspires me in the way that he views entrepreneurship and innovation.  He saw the smallest gap in a market and jumped at the opportunity to fill it.  This is a view that I believe more entrepreneurs should put into use: whatever our dreams, ideas or projects, if we plant a seed, from that small thing comes fruit greater than we could imagine.

Nohbo

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Meet Benjamin Stern. At the ripe old age of 17, this kid made a deal with Shark Tank Judge Mark Cuban for 25% of his company for $100,000. Crazy right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Then I looked into this miraculous product he thought up and developed and understood why. Ben’s product, the Nohbo, is a ball of dried shampoo that when run under water can be rubbed between your hands to produce a rich shampoo. This ingenious style of shampoo produces the perfect amount of soap for you while at the same time cutting down on plastic waste, which is the main goal of this company. These travel friendly spheres are perfect for any excursion you undertake. Just take however many you need for however many days and you’ll be good to go! Because of their small design and liquid free formula they will prevent spills and wont take up tons of space in your bag. However Ben’s products aren’t just limited to shampoo. He has also produced conditioner, body-wash, and shaving cream. Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank also commented “This could be the most successful product I’ve ever been presented with on Shark Tank.” Stern is continuing to be innovative in his product ideas as well as with his upkeep on Nohbo. He says his “…growing passion is to help the environment…” and we can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with next.

Go check out his awesome product in the video below:

Quality Tech Reviews

Too often in the world of new and upcoming tech, one can be easily overwhelmed by the crowded feed of user reviews. Enter a simple search such as “iPhone Review” onto the YouTube search engine and one will find a plethora of videos all aiming to answer the same few questions. What does it do? How does it work? Is the product (the newest iPhone, for example) worth the cost? Does it succeed or live up to one’s expectations? Is it better than the competitor’s options? These are simple questions that the consumer asks. Unfortunately, many reviewers fail to communicate to the average consumer the answers they seek. Too many reviews focus on specs, build quality, or the camera, but few have always been able to deliver to the consumer a holistic perspective on whether or not the piece of tech delivers.

Enter Marques Brownlee. Born in December of 1993, Marques is an American based, Youtuber specializing in technology reviews. In 2013 Vic Gundotra, the former senior Vice President, Social for Google Inc. named Marques Brownlee “the best technology reviewer on the planet right now.” Why is this?

Marques Brownlee

                               Marques Brownlee

While his videos have always been informative, he originally gained popularity for responding to his viewers such as answering questions they brought to him and by asking his viewer what they were interested in viewing. Since 2008, his channel has gained over 3.7 million subscribers making him the most subscribed to ‘tech based’ YouTube channel.

 

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Marques stands out from the many reviewers on YouTube using his deep understanding of technology to explain new and complicated developments. However, unlike many, he does this using simple terms and straightforward videos creating high quality tech reviews answering the questions the consumer might have.

 

Mashable

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Mashable is a top 10 multi million dollar blog that reaches audiences of all sorts; from the tech world to sports, to news stories with hot and relevant information on the top new products and info in the market. In 2005 it’s founder Pete Cashmore started this revolutionary data generator at the tender age of 19. His clever blog design, quick tips, tech advice, and social cultural aspects have attracted over 29 million followers on the many social media platforms he posts on. Cashmore grew his business from the ground up by adding sites for consumer contact and departments in the company itself to expand the empire. On the site itself found here, http://mashable.com/, you will find a variety of posts on a variety of topics for a variety of viewers. Its humorous takes on noteworthy company failures, quick views on sports games and reviews of new tech products and software are what make the blog so successful. By 2012 Cashmore was ranked in Time Magazines Top 100 Most Influential People for his great work in the social media world. Along with Mashable’s commitment to excellence and accuracy in their posts, Cashmore has also committed it to give back to the community by finding job opportunities in the career realms of “technology and social media, marketing and business, and design and development.” It also promises to attribute to a concept of “Social Good” to “make the world a better place.” In all these senses of this company I believe Mashable and its founder are both the stuff of the future we need to continue to push us into the future.

Better Than a Lemonade Stand

When I was about 15 years old, the town of Falmouth in Cape Cod decided to replace an old train track with a biking trail that extended several miles to Woods Hole, a popular tourist hot spot. That summer I ventured from my family’s summer home to see what the new bike trail had to offer in places I had never seen due to overgrown weeds – and that was how I met Patrick. Patrick was only 14, yet already had a summer business that was raking in hundreds annually to go toward his future college tuition.

Patrick’s parents had made it clear at a young age that if he wanted to go to college, he was going to have to start saving early because they couldn’t afford the debt. His home was on an average Falmouth road – quiet and lazy, yet also bustling in the summer with people biking or walking to the beach. At the age of 12, he borrowed $1,000 to purchase a high quality shaved ice making machine and flavoring, and set up a table at the side of the road to sell shaved ice to the passerbys. It didn’t take long for the revenue to start flowing like water, and he gained regular customers who would specifically travel down his road to purchase his shaved ice. When Falmouth ripped out the railroad in favor of the trail, his business exploded. By the time I met him, his table had become a semi-permanent booth that boasted the shaved ice machine, dozens of flavors, fresh squeezed lemonade, other refreshments like Gatorade and Sprite, and even had a shady section off to the side with benches and tables. The bike trail brought a boom of tourists and natives from other towns, and he had already saved several thousand dollars when I first met him.

One thing I truly admired was his commitment to his original goal of saving the money for his future tuition. He was already a levelheaded businessman at the young age of 14, and the vast majority of his revenue went straight into his savings instead of his pockets. It was brilliant for him to realize at age 12 that virtually no one sold shaved ice in our area and in the surrounding towns, and he was able to capitalize on that advantage very quickly before others caught on and did the same. While I haven’t seen Patrick in a few years, I am quite confident that his business is still there, improving, and thriving during the hot Cape Cod summers.

Man Can

The possibility of making money off little ideas seems so unlikely, however we hear the story time and time again about how here are children out there making thousands or millions a year just off of a little idea. Maybe it is because they aren’t as scared to fail, because they don’t need the money to provide for their families. Something about these stories is surprising, and also uplifting.

Fourteen year old Hart Main had an idea when he was teasing his sister about her fundraiser and selling “girly scented candles.” He wanted to make manly scented candles. With an initial investment of 300 dollars his dream started to become a reality. Soon he has scents such as Campfire, Grandpa’s Pipe, and Sawdust. These are now in at least 60 stores and have sold over 9000 units. He made this come true with just 300 dollars.

Kids who had lemonade stands when they were young had a mission, to make money. Adults who have a job, for the most part, have a mission, to make money. Sometimes all you need is to handle is the risk. Just like Hart, he just did it.

Gifting Africa

Eighteen year old Alain Nteff was alarmed by the high death rate of newborn babies and pregnant women in his community. When he was  20, he developed a mobile app called “Gifted Mom” to help solve this problem. The app helps teenage mothers and health workers calculate due dates. It also collects and sends information to women in the community. His app has more than 500 downloads and is integrated with locally made phones. It has 1,200 pregnant women and mothers as beneficiaries and has led to a 20% increase in antenatal attendance rate for pregnant women in 15 rural communities. Nteff is also working with 200 medical students to reduce brain drain in Cameroon. He plans to reach 50,000 pregnant women and mothers by end of 2015 and 5 million across the continent by 2017.

Sadly, over 7000 women still die per year in Cameroon from pregnancy related complications which can be prevented by a simple educative SMS. The company  notify subscribe women by SMS on when they should do their ANCs and tell them why. Subscription to their SMS solution is free and be done on the companies homepage. The company has the inspiring campaign and goals to use low cost technologies to fight ignorance and Maternal and Newborn Health issues. They organize monthly outreach sensitization projects, one village at a time to help Africa for the better.