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10 top young entrepreneurs from around the world

Thursday, 10 May 2012 | By Oliver Milman

feature-young-rich-thumbThe inaugural G20 Young Entrepreneur summit will kick off in Canada in June, with Australia set to be represented by Jeremy Liddle, who founded his business, RioLife, as a 24-year-old.


The summit is set to shine a light on some of the world’s leading young entrepreneurs, who have proved that age is no barrier to going it alone.


Indeed, with the likes of 27-year-old Mark Zuckerberg reaching the heights of entrepreneurship, it’s clear that innovators aren’t being held back, even as pre-teens.


Here are 10 of the leading business builders from around the world who hope to follow in Zuckerberg’s steps.



1. Andrew Hsu




A look at 20-year-old Hsu’s achievements thus far is enough to make Sir Richard Branson glance nervously over his shoulder.


At two-years-old he was constructing Lego buildings taller than himself and reading books. He took up golf at three and was a graduate of the University of Washington by 16.


But what of his business prowess? Well, Hsu has managed to snare $1.5 million in seed funding for Airy Labs, a business that creates social learning games for children.


Like any true entrepreneur, he’s also endured bumps in the road – Hsu has had to fire staff and remodel his business to ensure its future growth.



2. Savannah Britt




At the grand old age of 14, Britt became one of the world’s youngest publishing magnates with the launch of fashion title GirlPez.


By this time, Britt was already an old hand, having her poetry published aged just eight and receiving a wage as a reviewer of children’s books for The Kitchen Table News, a US newspaper that went under, leaving her unemployed at 11.


This early setback didn’t deter Britt, who told the JuniorBiz.com site in 2010: “I like a challenge. I think what drove me to start my magazine was the fact that I was so young and I was doing something that nobody around me was doing.”



3. Farrhad Acidwalla


Indian whizz-kid Acidwalla made his name founding and selling Rockstah Media, a web development and media company.


After borrowing $10 from his parents to purchase a domain name, he came up with a slogan – "creating awesomeness" – built the business and then sold it, at a handsome profit.


4. Laurence Rook




For a 13-year-old, Laurence Rook was perhaps a little overly concerned about his family’s safety, but it led to an inspired business idea.


Plagued by images of burglars ransacking houses left empty by their occupants going on holiday, the British teenager devised Smart Bell, a special doorbell that deters thieves.


How does it do it? Well, when someone rings your doorbell, your mobile is immediately notified, allowing you to speak to the visitor – hopefully the postman rather than an intruder – for as long as you like.


Rook is ramping up the commercialisation of his product and says he has a number of other ideas that he hopes to unleash upon the world.



5. Anshul Samar


“Entrepreneurship is cool, and so is chemistry!” enthuses Samar on his personal blog, which is attached to his business, Alchemist Empire.


The company’s primary product is Elementeo, which was released by Samar, then just 13-years-old, in 2009.


The game, which aims to make chemistry fun by creating characters in a fantasy-style game, is selling strong three years on.



6. Phil Hartman


Hartman won the 2008 US Young Inventor of the Year award for coming up with a system of fusing optical fibres in a cheaper and more efficient way than before.


Now 17, Hartman hasn’t stopped there, conjuring up the Steam Viper, a device that shoots steam onto a frozen windscreen, defrosting it in around 15 seconds.


Despite his age, Hartman has some sage advice for other budding entrepreneurs, telling JuniorBiz.com: “If you love entrepreneurship, you should do it. Do what you love.”


“But if you’re not really into what you’re doing, then you should go get a job and do something else.


“It’s not easy. You’ve got to have a huge passion for it, along with a passion for helping out the world. If you’re just doing it for the money, then it doesn’t really work. You won’t end up being successful.”



7. Tim Chae




Chae boasts the enviable achievement of having two profitable start-ups before the age of 18, but it wasn’t always easy for the US-based entrepreneur.


After dropping out of college to launch social media marketing agency PostRocket, Chae found that his age was a barrier to striking out on his own, telling Reuters that he had to get his father to co-sign a lease on an apartment.


He is now part of the celebrated 500 Startups programme and is a vocal advocate of the innovation provided by young entrepreneurs.



8. Seth Priebatsch


Priebatsch, who calls himself a “proud Princeton dropout”, has been creating businesses since he was 12.


At 18, he launched PostcardTech, which offers interactive marketing tours for CD-ROM, and three years on he was backed by Google Ventures to create SCVNGR.


Priebatsch describes SCVNGR as “part game, part game platform.”


Players take part in the game by completing tasks in the real world – an opportunity that has been seized upon by marketing-savvy small businesses.



9. Daniel Gomez Iniguez




Notching $3 million revenue in your second year is a decent achievement for any business, especially one that is headed by a 20-year-old.


Mexican entrepreneur Iniguez started Solben in 2009 as a non-profit that creates biodiesel production technology. After realising that he could make revenue from the concept, Iniguez expanded the idea to a global marketplace.



10. Stanley Tang


While growing up in Hong Kong, Tang’s school banned snack foods, prompting his first entrepreneurial venture – he brought in his own snacks and sold them onto his classmates for a healthy profit.


Since then, Tang has worn the title of the world’s youngest bestselling author, after his eMillions book shot to the top of the Amazon charts. He was just 14-years-old.