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Celebrating Young Entrepreneurs on International Youth Day

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

“The youth is the hope of our future.” - Jose Rizal


Saturday, August 12th marks the 24-year anniversary of International Youth Day, an occasion that sees an array of cultural events, workshops and dialogue-driven initiatives between governments and youth-related groups take place all over the world.


Designated as an awareness day by the United Nations, this year’s theme is ‘Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World’, aligning with the ever-evolving push towards a greener tomorrow.


Acknowledging this key date in the global calendar, we at Brilliant-Online decided to shine the light on a selection of young entrepreneurs from around the world who are creating a buzz in their respective industries – indeed, one could argue that they are running the companies of the future!

Saturday, August 12 marks the 24-year anniversary of International Youth Day as featured in Brilliant-Online
Saturday, August 12th marks the 24-year anniversary of International Youth Day

It may come as a surprise to some that a person is entitled to start a business at any age, on the basis that parents or guardians lend support with the necessary legal documentation and associated requirements.


Me & the Bees Lemonade, Mikaila Ulmer as featured in Brilliant-Online | credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

For example, young American entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer founded her Me & the Bees Lemonade company when she was, gulp, only FOUR YEARS OLD!! Her products, which have since expanded to include lip balms made from bee’s wax, are now sold in over 1,500 stores across the U.S. and Mikaila, now 18, donates 10% to bee conservation efforts.


Then there is Evan Moana who gained fame by reviewing children’s toys on YouTube and was named the platform’s youngest millionaire in 2016, who continues to do so today.


There are plenty more examples to marvel at, categorically proving that age is not a barrier to success – you just need a creative imagination to form and develop a good idea, lots of positivity, passion and drive, a small dose of youthful fearlessness and maybe a little help from your friends (or parents!)


Healthy Ice Cream!


Close to home we have 15-year-old Miah Armstrong who started her own business, Hilltop Natural Ice Cream, making her incredibly delicious and health benefiting alternative ice cream and frozen yoghurt. Miah's goal is to produce delicious and healthy ice cream from local ingredients as she intends to be carbon neutral. “One of the ways I’m offsetting my carbon footprint is by using regenerative farming techniques," Miah told us. "I use eggs straight off our family farm [Grazed and Grown] and our own homemade vanilla extract. I also source the highest quality ingredients from reputable suppliers, such as milk from Jimmy Eggert at Hastings Riverlands, as I’m focused on putting the flavour and health benefits before profit.” You can read more about Miah's delicious offerings and wonderful story here.


Paws and Properties


Another young local entrepreneur is Jessica Gray, a licenced conveyancer and owner of Smart Coast Conveyancing which operates NSW wide. Jessica helps pet owners navigate the complexities of strata law where properties with shared facilities typically have a unique set of rules, often specific to pets. It can get pretty complex but Jessica is on hand to help make it a far more understandable and less stressful experience. After all, home isn't just where the heart is, it's where your pet eagerly waits for you! Find out more here.


Plastic-Free Goal


Big thinking and imagination clearly runs in Benjamin Stern’s family – his grandfather was an engineer on the first Apollo mission, which ultimately paved the way for Apollo 11 to land on the moon. Stern, now 24, won an edition of the entrepreneur showcase TV show ‘Shark Tank’ fresh out of high school and secured backing from leading businessman and investor Mark Cuban for his eco-friendly company Nohbo.


Stern is on a mission to completely rid the world of single-use plastic containers as featured in Brilliant-Online
Ben Stern and Nohbo are on a mission to completely rid the world of single-use plastic containers

Aligning nicely with this year’s International Youth Day theme, Stern is on a mission to completely rid the world of single-use plastic containers by using plant-based materials to develop and manufacture biodegradable water-soluble personal care drops and sheets designed to, as his Linkedin profile states, “melt away and leave no trace behind”. Partnering specifically with various hotel chains, the eco-friendly personal care products range incorporates shampoo, conditioner and body wash containers. Nohbo is now an award-winning startup that has since partnered with the likes of Capital One, 4 Ocean and One People One Reef and developed three patent products.


Carbon Footprint Reduction


Bearbottom also adheres to the topic of sustainability. Founded by Robert Felder when he was still in high school, the company produces ethically made men’s clothing and was inspired after Felder took a trip to Bangladesh in 2012 and was exposed to the shocking conditions of workers in garment factories across the country.


Bearbottom uses environmentally friendly recycled materials in their products
Bearbottom uses environmentally friendly recycled materials in their products. Photo: Bearbottom

Bearbottom started with a “buy-one-give-one model” whereby a pair of shorts was donated to a person in need for every piece of apparel a consumer bought. In 2021, Bearbottom modified their strategy to meal donation programs, specifically in India, and has since donated over 700,000 meals and 100,000 pairs of shorts to partner communities in that country as well as Bangladesh. “We are constantly looking for ways to build our products more sustainably, including using post-consumer recycled materials,” he told The Good Man Project last year, adding that the brand is constantly moving towards more sustainable practices to minimise its carbon footprint.


Sharing Is Caring


Young Australian entrepreneur Zoë Condliffe founded She’s A Crowd back in 2018, a safe and anonymous reporting platform that uses crowdsourcing technology and data analytics to combat gender-based violence, specifically for women and gender-diverse Australians, although stories from all over the world have also been shared. The company was born out of a personal, harrowing experience after Zoë suffered an abusive relationship while in Cambodia attempting to establish an NGO. Since its inception, the company has blossomed, with support from the likes of Google, the Governments of Victoria and NSW, the City of Melbourne, Layne Beachley Foundation, SheStarts, FYA and the Australian Government and has collected over 100,000 stories to date, which are used as data for advocacy and to inform policy and planning on a decision-maker level.


She's A Crowd combats gender-based violence as featured in Brilliant-Online
She's A Crowd combats gender-based violence

Zoë and She’s A Crowd have gone on to win a staggering array of awards, although she is fully aware that she has only scratched the surface in respects to her long-term vision, which she describes as an obsession.

“Being an entrepreneur is not a good lifestyle decision,” she told Luminary.com last year. “You don’t want to be an entrepreneur just to be an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you're obsessed with what you’re getting up to do every day. I’m obsessed with solving this problem, so every day I get up and I have a purpose. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, do it because you're solving a problem that you’re obsessed with solving.”

‘Uber For Pets’


Vets on Call as mentioned in Brilliant-Online
Credit: Vets On Call

Fellow Aussie entrepreneur Morgan Coleman is a man with a big heart whose personal, stressful experience taking his sick dog Milky to a local vet in 2018 motivated him to establish Vets On Call. Essentially a mobile veterinary service, or “Uber for pets” as it has often been referred to, the company states its mission statement on its Linkedin page as making “pet care more convenient, less stressful and completely transparent by delivering in our consultations in the comfort of our clients’ homes.” The service has proved extremely popular, especially with people who have mobility issues and the elderly, while animals that are easily stressed can be attended to in the comfort of their own home, thus minimising any uncomfortableness. “Over 50 percent of people who use us the first time will convert to being a long term client. That’s a really promising sign for the business,” Morgan told Luminary.com in 2020.


The 33-year-old Morgan has further motivation to ensure his company succeeds and becomes the leading pet care provider Down Under – being a role model to young Indigenous Australians. “Being an Indigenous Australian myself I wanted to do something that was going to stand as a legacy to the ingenuity and creativity of Indigenous Australians,” he said in the same 2020 interview. “I remember being 15 or 16 and thinking that if I didn’t succeed at sport, I wouldn’t succeed at all. All the Indigenous people I saw who were successful were all sports people. It would be so reaffirming of the journey I’m on if other Indigenous people could look at business, technology and entrepreneurship as ways to build a better life for themselves.”


The Witchy Nook


Back home in Port Macquarie, we featured Bianca Moore who believes everyone has the ability to connect with the Earth, and to harness our own natural magic and innate wisdom. The Witchy Nook provides a place to supply humans with the tools they need to reconnect with themselves, with Nature.

Bianca can take you into her enigmatic world of crystals, herbs and spells and help you to wield your own brilliant magic and unlock your hidden potential. These have been used in ancient times for different purposes, from cleansing negative energy in a space, to lifting one's spirits or for protection as one embarks on an arduous task.


Coffee Injection

Again back home, we meet 18 year old Camden Haven’s Eden Lewis-Bain who found success from the back of her coffee truck, 'Coffee Injection'.


Eden wasted no time after high school last year developing a plan to launch her business, Coffee Injection, at Lake Cathie Medical Centre.


Park Your Problems


Good friends Louise Chen and Lisa Qi also leant on personal experience to create their company Share With Oscar. A few years back, Lisa was trying to find a parking spot at the ever-popular Bondi Beach in Sydney. Getting frustrated at being unable to do so, despite circling the block many times over the course of an hour, she eventually stopped at a stranger’s vacant driveway and asked the person whether she could park there for $20. The person agreed. His name? Oscar, hence the company name!


Oscar is Australia’s largest network of on-demand parking as featured in Brilliant-Online

The company’s mission is to “make our cities more liveable through sharing. We’re changing the way we share our infrastructure and resources when we don’t use them, to create greener, smarter, and more liveable cities... Instead of building more unsightly parking lots, let’s help each other by lending what we already have, and making the most efficient use of space,” it adds. It is also a smart way for local residents to make a little extra cash from time-to-time for lending the use of their vacant spaces. The company is now Australia’s largest network of on-demand parking, with solutions for all types of parking needs and a smart parking technology app that helps businesses better manage their parking facilities and optimise the use of space. Think of an AirBnB for parking and you’re on the right track!


A Healthy Future


Our next profile features another couple of Aussie friends who bonded together over a love of fitness and wanting to lose weight. Amal Wakim and Jade Spooner were both working in IT jobs at Google in their late 20s but, tired of their inactive lifestyles in front of a computer screen day in and day out, decided to quit and dedicate themselves to getting healthier and losing a combined weight of 50kg.


Amal Wakim and Jade Spooner of Equalution to promote a healthy future as featured in Brilliant-Online

Observing that while exercise was of course key to this achievement, diet was the critical factor, they launched Equalution in 2016, a balanced nutritional plan that is personalised towards an individual’s health goals with an app that tracks nutrients consumed. In 2020, Equalution ranked 14th out of 50 companies for revenue growth over a three-year span on Deloitte Technology’s Fast 50 Australia list, at a staggering 987%! The achievements also saw the founding couple featured in Forbes’ Asia Pacific 30 Under 30 index under the category of Retail and E-commerce. Nowadays, the company is a multimillion-dollar business with over 750,000 clients globally – a far cry from the $240 weekly wage Jade was paying herself in the early days of the company’s inception!


I Want Candy!


Aline Morse, Zolli Candy as featured in Brilliant-Online
Photo Credit: Aline Morse, Zolli Candy

Health was also the principal driver behind Aline Morse establishing her company Zolli Candy with her father back in 2014. At the tender age of just seven years old, Aline had visited the bank with her father, where the teller offered her a lollipop. Conscious that her parents had always warned that candy was bad for her teeth, young Aline politely refused but was left asking why there was no option for candy that WASN’T damaging to one’s teeth.


Shortly afterwards, Aline and her father proudly introduced a delicious vegan, all-natural, sugar-free, allergy-free, gluten-free, diabetic-friendly candy to the market and young Alina became known as the “Lollipop Girl”.


Zolli Candy is sold at stores all across the U.S. and Alina now serves as CEO of the company. She also launched the Million Smiles initiative a few years back which encourages schools in the U.S. to discuss the topic of dental hygiene with pupils by donating “Zollipops” to them.


There are literally countless other examples of vibrant young entrepreneurs who are making waves and shaking up a whole range of industries. The youth are indeed the hope of our future which is why we wish a very happy International Youth Day to all youngsters and budding entrepreneurs out there this year!

 

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