How kid entrepreneurs are making their mark

How kid entrepreneurs are making their mark

“Starting your own business isn't that hard when you have people around you (who) support you,” Ryan Hickman says.

From lemonade stands to large-scale businesses, entrepreneurship for kids can take many forms. Regardless of what interest your child leans toward, creative thinking and problem-solving are invaluable skills that could land him or her at the top of a business empire.

“Entrepreneurship requires both resilience and curiosity,” says Meredith Meyer Grelli, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. “Fortunately, these are useful traits for all of us, entrepreneurs or not. So we can feel good about engendering these traits in our kids no matter their future pathways.

If we can help kids develop curiosity in their world, and in particular, the willingness to dive into frustrations or frictions they themselves encounter, they may find opportunity.” While going to school dances, practicing for the big game or preparing to get a driver’s license may be typical adolescent activities outside of the classroom, some preteens are turning passion into profits.

These four mini moguls started burgeoning businesses and encourage other young people to hop on the entrepreneurial wagon.

At age 7, Ryan Hickman launched Ryan's Recycling Company, which has recycled more than 1.6 million cans and bottles.

Ryan Hickman, Ryan’s Recycling Co.

Litter was especially bothersome to Ryan Hickman as a child. So much so, that he decided to take action. “My dad took me to the recycling center when I was about 3 years old, and I just loved it,” Ryan recalls. “I got all of our neighbors to start recycling, and it just took off. Here in California, we can cash bottles in for 5 cents each, so I was excited to make some money and save the planet.” By age 7, he launched Ryan’s Recycling Companywhich has recycled more than 1.6 million cans and bottles.

These days you can find him speaking to schools around the globe, leading beach cleanups, doing on-camera interviews and running Project3R, a nonprofit dedicated to recycling and environmental education. In addition to a speaking engagement in South America, Hickman also has plans to join scientists in a research trip aboard a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea near Spain.

From lemonade stand to full-blown entrepreneur:How this Colorado kid got started in business