Young minds inspire us to keep our dreams in reach because it’s never too late or too early for them to become a reality.
Better yet, we are seeing more teens take root in the entrepreneurship sector and set a standard on how to run a successful business. From a beauty supply store to a cookie business, the youth are racking in the big bucks through their moves.
These teens did not have a road map, a degree, or years of experience in their fields but what they did have was ambition, a willingness to make the world a better place, and a support system to take them to the finish line.
Here’s a list of six teens who turned into bosses at an early age.
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Seventeen-year-old Mikaila Ulmer is the leading lady of Me & The Bees Classic Lemonade. Her company was inspired by an old recipe from the 1940s which used flaxseed as one of the main ingredients. She then created a lemonade stand from the outside of her home.
Me & The Bees Classic Lemonade received a Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods Market in the amount of $10,000 back in 2015 to support expansion, AfroTech previously reported. Now, the lemonade is sitting comfortably on shelves at large food retailers including Target and Kroger.
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Believing in your child’s dreams can plant seeds that will bloom for a lifetime. This narrative rings true for 17-Year-Old a’Ron Burns. His mother, Alexis Burns, quit her job because she believed in her son’s aspirations to become an entrepreneur.
“Me investing and contributing and actually showing him, ‘Hey I’m quitting my job, I’m cashing in on my 401k, I’m giving this my all. Because this is a dream that you want. And I believe in you. I’m gonna trust you to do the right thing,’” Alexis said, according to WLBT News.
a’Ron is now the owner of Rolls-N-Sweetz, home to ice cream and more delights. It opened for business in June 2022 as a way to connect deeper with the community. Already, the teen entrepreneur has plans to scale the business nationwide.
“With entrepreneurship, I can provide jobs, I can provide peace, I can provide comfort. And with ice cream, it’s also an emotional support food. So, it also would help me connect to people who are going through things I might not know, but the ice cream might help,” a’Ron told WLBT News.
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Danielle Hawthorne has a collection of handmade satin bonnets and durags through her company Scotch Bonnets By Dani, launched while she was in high school. She was looking to create better quality products than beauty supply stores and break notions surrounding bonnets and durags.
“I want to promote people taking care of themselves,” Hawthorne said in an interview with AfroTech. “Bonnets sometimes have a negative connotation, but my products, the colors I use, bring a different approach. So, hopefully people will look at them in a more positive light.”
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Trey Brown took $178, received on his 12th birthday, and turned it into $2 million with SPERGO, a boutique fashion collection catering to all. Since its launch, the company has scored a partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers. Brown also opened two stores, the first thanks to a $25,000 grant from Sean “Diddy” Combs in 2020 during the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Now, Brown has caught the attention of more celebrities, including Meek Mill. Outside of the accolades, Brown has retired his mother. He hopes to encourage the youth the sky is the limit.
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Paris McKenzie became the proud owner of her very own beauty supply store at just 16-years-old. Later, she also opened a second business called the La Eiffel Beauty Bar. Beyond the business, she plans to become an orthopedic pediatric surgeon and currently attends Morgan State University.
“Yes, [my businesses] are my passion. But what’s in my heart is to be a doctor. I’m interested in orthopedic pediatric surgery. I changed my major from chemistry to nursing, though, so if I don’t get to go to medical school because of my businesses, then I’ll at least still be in the field I’ve always wanted to be in. But I’m now trying to balance [that dream with] the fact that I am someone that people look up to [because of my story]. I know the importance of what I’m doing. That’s also why I opened the second business — to let young girls know this is not just a one-hit-wonder. I can open multiple [stores], and I can leave and know that they’re functioning as I need them to. I still can’t believe how far [my story] went; how far it’s taken me. And that’s why, five years from now, I don’t know what I can imagine,” McKenzie told Allure.
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This teen mogul knows a thing or two about whipping up the perfect treat! By the age of six, Cory Nieves had launched Mr. Cory’s Cookies. Nieves started the company because he was looking for a way to help his mother, Lisa Howard, purchase a car.
Mr. Cory’s Cookies is now a staple in New Jersey. In fact, during its initial launch, the company had 10,000 backorders. They are currently working on creating new flavors for their loyal customers.
Samantha Dorisca is a Houston-based journalist and photographer whose mission is to impact communities through the gift of storytelling using the written word or visual media. She completed her B.A at The University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing a M.A at The University of Memphis. Her work can be found on platforms such as Houstonia Magazine, Girls' Life Magazine, and Blacque Magazine. Samantha mainly reports on tech, trends, and entrepreneurship.
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