Tips for young entrepreneurs

Passion, purpose and persistence are key points to making progress in the entrepreneurial world.

There is no age requirement for becoming an entrepreneur!
There is no age requirement for becoming an entrepreneur!

There is no age requirement on becoming an entrepreneur, however, there are some benefits to being young, energetic and willing or able to take risks. The young entrepreneur armed with dedication, determination and a desire can be successful early on and carry those successes on to future endeavors. Listed below are some tips and advice from both young entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans in the business world.


What motivates you? What are you passionate about? If youth can take that passion and point it in the right direction, it might pay off. If you believe in the cause or the purpose of your product, then your energy will go forth and most likely lead to success. For example, Evan Wadongo of Kenya was 19 when he came up with a lamp design to help villages in Africa that have no electricity. “You have to have passion for what you want to do. Of course you'll have obstacles. But once you have that passion and that goal you want to achieve, you'll find the means to do it.” You see a problem, and if you can match that with a purpose, a passion and a plan, you’ve got the right ingredients for success.


You can’t give up. You have to stay at it. The first idea might not work. The loss at the lemonade stand or the flop of the fit-bit for pets shouldn’t discourage you. You can and will more than likely have to make adjustments and problem-solve as your company develops. One thing is certain, nothing goes to plan. Wadongo mentioned obstacles and there will always be obstacles and hurdles to overcome. What a young entrepreneur must lean is that failure is only failure if you don’t learn and move on.


These pitfalls can be blessings. For one, they can guide you to a new and better product or service. Why does the customer not like it? How can we correct it to meet their needs? It could be a myriad of things, but finding out is problem-solving, which is a skill needed in all areas.

Second, you can take this failure and put it in your memory to use for future undertakings. A skinned knee could be an opportunity to invent a better Band-Aid.

Third, pitfalls or failures early on allow you time to recover. This is where the youth benefit. If you lose everything now, you have time to build it back up. Youth can afford to take the risks early and if they lose their shirt, there is time to look for new threads. However, I know people in their 50s that are taking risks and coming up with new and innovative ideas and becoming successful in new careers. That is the entrepreneurial spirit. No age limit.


You have to depend on other people. You can’t make it alone. When you fail, it’s OK to ask for help. Tell peers your problems, bounce ideas off them, use them as a resource and even delegate some responsibilities. You can’t know everything and you can’t do everything. Your peers may have the same mistake you made in their memory bank and may be able to guide you through it. Reaching out to them can not only make connections to help your development, but also bond relationships that can be reciprocated in the future. Hopefully when people see your passion and commitment, they will be happy to back you, support you and give you the help you may need.

For more information on youth entrepreneurship, visit the Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Entrepreneurship page.

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