For a moment we’ll ask the Mark Zuckerbergs, Aaron Levies, and Alexa von Tobels to step aside to learn from an even younger set of motivated individuals. These four young people began their entrepreneurial paths as early as age 8. But they didn’t come without struggles–most commonly, being taken seriously.
Here are four children or young adults, who were recently featured in a BBC article about young entrepreneurs. See how they made their ideas a reality without letting a pesky thing like puberty get in the way.
1. Leanna Archer
Idea: Home-made hair products
Archer, a native New Yorker, was 8 when she started producing her own haircare products made from her great grandmother’s Haitian recipe. Her idea to sell the products came after enthusiastic responses to free samples she handed out.
Archer is now 18-years-old and has team of eight. In a recent interview with the BBC, she noted one of her biggest challenges: being taken seriously. Despite this, her steady work proved she wasn’t playing games. “As I got older, people started to realize that this was not just a phase–it was something that I was working and developing and I was the driving force behind it,” she said.
2. Anshul Samar
Idea: Chemistry card game
Samar, a California student, was only 12-years-old when he decided to create a card game to teach other children about the periodic table of elements. By age 14, he had made and sold 5,000 games. In additon to his age, Samar was thrown another obstacle: At 13 he was diagnosed with a rare lung disease. Fortunately, he could devote his down time to focusing on the game.
Now there’s an updated second version of the game and an app called Elementeo. Today Samar is a college student studying at Stanford University.
3. Lucwick Marishane
Idea: Dry soap
Marishane was 17 when he came up with DryBath, the name of his product which is essentially a replacement for soap and water. Marishane, who is from South Africa, wanted to create the gel because he used the bucket bathing method himself and found a problem with rinsing off because the water from the bucket would be too soapy. He also felt bending down to rinse was an undignified way of cleaning. DryBath changes those problems because you only need to wipe your skin with a cloth once to get serious dirt like mud off.
Through his entrepreneurial pursuit, he says he learned not to take negative feedback to heart and only use it for improvement.
4. IIwad Elman
Idea: A counseling, medical services and educational organization for sexual assaultsurvivors.
Though Elman grew up in Canada, she was born in Somalia where her father was assassinated when she was 3-years-old. When she was 19, she returned to Somalia where she started Sister Somalia, an organization that provides counseling, medical services, education and business starter kits to women. It has helped 1,600 women set up their businesses.
Her biggest challenge was changing peoples’ perspectives on young leaders. “I even at times had people walk out of meetings just because they couldn’t handle the idea of a young person trying to convey these messages to them,” Elman told the BBC.