Four of the most disruptive young entrepreneurs

One of the themes for 2016’s Global Entrepreneurship Week is young entrepreneurs. Some people might think that young people lack the experience needed to run a successful business. One look at these disruptive entrepreneurs, who are all under the age of 25 should change your mind though…

Luke Massie, 23, founder of Vibe Tickets

Luke Massie was just 17 years old when he launched his first business, a call centre in Preston. But in 2013, at the age of 20, he launched Vibe Tickets, an alternative, transparent peer-to-peer ticket selling site.

Not only is he building a business that takes on the often shady practice of re-selling tickets, he’s attracting some big names to support him, and raised more than £600,000 in a recent crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube. 

Massie made it to the final of the Virgin Media Business VOOM competition this year, and received praise from the judges for building something that is tackling an issue experienced across the music and entertainment industry.

Talking to All About Careers about why he launched his business, Massie said: “It all started with a personal experience in navigating the secondary ticketing market. I actually purchased gig tickets for me and a few friends, but unfortunately they had double booked themselves. I didn’t want to waste the tickets (and my money!) or rip anyone off, so I looked for a way to sell the tickets for face value to real fans who perhaps missed out when the tickets were released. Seeing that there wasn’t a free option available at the time, Vibe Tickets was born. I put my tickets on Twitter and ended up selling them – making a fan and my pocket happy! From there, Vibe Tickets was born.”

Eli Wachs, 18, founder of High School HeroesX

Eli Wachs is a social entrepreneur who started High School HeroesX to encourage other high school students to create meaningful change in their communities. High School HeroesX sets challenges to students around the world – from Beijing to Pennsylvania – on a variety of subjects, including food safety, environment and sustainability issues, and mental health.

Wachs was one of the two high school students selected to attend the inaugural Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and led the first ever XPrize Teen Visioneering programme in 2015.

On his website, he explains why he set up High school HeroesX: “While I’ve followed with amazement contests that XPRIZE has developed and executed, like the Ansari XPRIZE, which gave birth to commercial spaceflight, and the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XChallenge, as a high school student, I thought it would be great to be able to get classmates and others in the community to participate in a competition that could benefit our community, and we could see the difference we make. What if we took the competitive multiplier effect inherent to XPRIZE, but applied it to doing good locally?”

Noa Mintz, 16, founder of Nannies By Noa

At the age of 12, Noa Mintz had already secured caregivers for her own family and was in the process of recruiting for other families. She launched Nannies By Noa in August 2012, which was built around her innovative approach of matching families and caregivers. She aims to raise the bar of what to expect from a caregiver, making it standard practice for her nannies to be active and engaged participants in the lives of the children they care for.

In 2014, Mintz made the decision to hire a CEO to run the business on a day to day basis, freeing her up to complete her school work.

She told CNN that the idea for the business came after a challenge set in jest by her mother to find a better babysitter for their family. She did that – and then started helping her mother’s friends to find nannies too. “I found it fun to get to know a family and their needs – and find a babysitter who matched that,” she explained. “I really had no expectations but I figured I’d try.”

James Anderson, 19, co-founder of Zest

James Anderson and his co-founder George Streten developed the idea for Zest (formerly known as Space Lounges) while they were still at school studying for their A Levels and GCSEs.

James explained to the Huffington Post where the idea came from: “For the past three years or so, I’ve been working out of coffee shops. I only did this because all my friends were too. It wasn’t until recently that I started getting really frustrated about the service and environment. Having a background in web and app development, where I started building websites at the age of seven and apps at the age of thirteen, I began to question why these frustrations could not be solved with technology.

“Space Lounges is the next-generation coffee lounge that is on a mission to bring fun back to the high-street, with a beautiful and intelligent smartphone app where you are able to order on demand, discover exciting new products, receive invites to sensational live events and enjoy the finest customer service. Space Lounges is more than a coffee lounge; it’s a lifestyle.”

They attracted support from high profile people, including Stephen Fry, who said that he hoped the team would stay focused on “inspiring people and creating things that are, as they said of the first Apple Mac, ‘insanely great’”.

These are just a small selection of some of the best young entrepreneurs out there. For more on youth entrepreneurship, check out Global Entrepreneurship Week and join the conversation online via the #GEW2016 hashtag.

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