By Mary Stetson
What is Youth Entrepreneurship?
Youth entrepreneurship is when young people—usually between 15 and 24 years old—have a business idea and act on it.
A Few Examples of Youth Entrepreneurs
Hart Main of Ohio didn’t like the lack of “manly” candle scents, and wanted to earn money for buying a bike, so he founded a candle company at the age of 13.
And Kamaria Warren, from Georgia, wanted to see more representation of girls of color in school and party supplies, which led her to start a stationary business with her mother at the age of 7.
Lily Born, from Illinois, was 8 when she decided to go about inventing an untippable cup, inspired by her grandfather, who often spilled his drinks due to Parkinson’s Disease. Born partnered with her father to achieve this. By 16, she had sold tens of thousands of her cup designs internationally.
Missouri resident Mikey Wren simply wanted a snack from a vending machine, and then had the idea to buy one; he founded a vending machine company at the age of 8, in addition to authoring two children’s books.
Why is Youth Entrepreneurship Important?
For one thing, youth entrepreneurs can increase their financial knowledge and learn useful business skills; such skills are highly transferrable, even if a young person ultimately decides that entrepreneurship is not for them.
Entrepreneurship is also one way that kids and young adults can learn critical thinking, according to Uncharted Learning. It provides opportunities for developing problem-solving skills—entrepreneurs will inevitably face challenges, and they must overcome them to be successful. As they learn how to overcome challenges, they will also learn about themselves: who they are, what they are good at, and what skills they need to improve on.
Youth entrepreneurs also learn the benefits of working with others; they learn effective communication and collaboration. Such skills arguably give young entrepreneurs a head start when they enter the workforce, as successfully working with a team is something employers value.
Growing such skills can increase confidence, and even improve a person’s overall happiness—social connections, a Harvard longitudinal study found, are a key indicator of happiness. And entrepreneurship is inherently a social process—one cannot build a business alone. Networking and collaboration are essential to start and maintain a business, even if only one person owns it.
I’RAISE’s Business Coaching Programs
If you or someone you know is an entrepreneur between the ages of 8 to 19, check out our youth entrepreneurship programs! We have Junior and Teen Academies, as well as an Executive Coaching program led by I'RAISE Founder and CEO Shanequa Moore. Click here for more information.
Entrepreneur Boot Camp
I'RAISE is also currently offering an Entrepreneur Boot Camp for youth and teenagers. Aspiring young business owners can learn: step-by-step action plans, managing budgets, elevator pitches, and more!
We have a Junior Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, for ages 6 to 11, and a Senior Entrepreneurship Boot Camp, for ages 13 to 19. Youth have the option to participate virtually or in a hybrid format in Atlanta, Georgia, and New York City, respectively.
What I'RAISE Entrepreneurship Students Have to Say
Lisbeth Espana is the founder of SEEDLIZZ, the mission of which is to bring awareness of the environment to classrooms. In this video, she highlights her experience with I'RAISE's entrepreneurship program.
Robert Warren developed his own marketing agency called Blue Cyclone Media. In this video, he describes all he got out of the program.
Rahinatou is the founder of Luxora, a premium skincare line that drew inspiration from West African traditions.
Karisa, another past I'RAISE student, says, "If it wasn't for this program, my business would not be where it's at."