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Start Your Business Success Stories

9 Companies Founded by Amazing Young Entrepreneurs

9 Companies Founded by Amazing Young Entrepreneurs
Credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

It's always impressive to hear about entrepreneurs who created popular products and businesses in their early 20s. But the entrepreneurial spirit sometimes strikes even younger than that. Some of the entrepreneurs on this list haven't learned how to drive or even been to high school yet, but they're running their own companies and on an early path to success.

Cory Nieves, now 12, became the owner of Mr. Cory's Cookies at the ripe old age of six. According to his website, Nieves told his mom that he was tired of taking the bus to school and that he wanted to buy a car. It started out as selling hot cocoa in his hometown of Englewood, New Jersey, and spiraled into selling lemonade and cookies to save money for college. Mr. Cory's Cookies, which come in a variety of different flavors, have no preservatives and are sold through his website. He has also worked with major brands such as Barney's, J. Crew and Pottery Barn.

In September 2016, 13-year-old Amber Kelley was declared the winner of the televised culinary competition Food Network Star Kids, which landed her a Food Network web series. But even before her big win, Kelley had made her mark in the world of young celebrity chefs: Since 2012, she's been the star of her own healthy cooking YouTube channel, Cook With Amber, and currently has more than 37,700 subscribers. According to her website, Kelley was featured as a "Kid Coach" at Mashable’s 2016 Kid Talks, an "Inspirational Kid" on the Today Show, and a "Culinary Wizard" on the 2015 Academy Awards' Live From the Red Carpet on E!. Her work has even been recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House dinner. 

When Leanna Archer was 8 years old, she decided to share her great grandmother's recipe for an all-natural hair pomade. She started giving it out for free in baby food jars, and now sells her all-natural, sulfate and paraben-free hair and skin products worldwide. The line includes cleansing masks, skin lotion, hair treatments, shampoos, conditioners and more. Leanna is now the CEO of Leanna's Essentials. and her company has been recognized by prominent business publications like Forbes and Success Magazine. She even started the Leanna Archer Education Foundation to build schools and safe learning environments for underprivileged children in Haiti.

In 2010, a new mobile game app called "Bubble Ball" launched in the Apple app store. In its first two weeks it received more than 1 million downloads, surpassing "Angry Birds" as the most downloaded free game from Apple. Robert Nay, a 14-year-old with no previous coding experience, built this game. According to CNN, Nay learned everything he needed to know through research at the public library, and produced 4,000 lines of code for his physics-based puzzle game in just one month. Nay Games now offers games to help students learn sight words and spelling, Bubble Ball Pro, and Bubble Ball: Curiosity Edition, in addition to the original Bubble Ball.

After being disappointed in the bow ties available to him on the market, a fashion-forward, 9-year-old Moziah Bridges learned how to sew his own with the help of his grandmother. He began selling his bow ties on Etsy and his products were soon picked up by boutiques in several states. On top of his business success, Bridges was invited to the inaugural White House Demo Day, where he was able to personally meet President Obama and gift him with a special "Obama blue" Mo's Bow. Bridges, who was mentored by Shark Tank's Daymond John, is now 14 years old and serves as the CEO of Mo's Bows handmade bow ties, a Memphis based, family-run business.

From an early age, Neha Gupta has participated in her family's tradition of celebrating birthdays by traveling to India and bringing food and gifts to orphans in their hometown. In 2005, at the age of 9, she decided she wanted to do more to make a real difference in these children's lives. She began selling handmade win charms door-to-door and at community events to raise money for schoolbooks and other educational expenses for orphans. These efforts led her to create Empower Orphans, a registered nonprofit organization. Empower Orphans has conducted more than 27 projects and raised more than $1.6 million, and Gupta recently received the International Children's Peace Prize.

Jaden Wheeler and Amaya Selmon started making snow cones with a blender and an extension cord in front of their Memphis, Tennessee, home in 2011. Since then, the brother and sister team have upgraded. In a Huffington Post feature on their company, Kool Kidz Sno Konez, Wheeler and Selmon explained that their mother purchased the truck for them after seeing how successful their (very) small business had become. Now in their mid-teens, they were the youngest food truck owners in Memphis, and last year were nominated for Best Youth-Owned Business, as part of the Best in Black Awards.

D'Aloisio, now in his early twenties, can proudly say that a multinational corporation purchased his company and made him a millionaire. At 15, he received backing from Horizon Ventures and other angel investors to develop Summly; a summarization app that algorithmically creates summaries of news articles optimized for the iPhone. In March of 2013, Yahoo acquired D'Aloisio's company for $30 million. D'Aloisio is now studying at Oxford University in London.

When Anshul Samar was a fourth grader, he loved playing card games. Two years later, he began developing his own, which he called Elementeo. Samar aimed to make chemistry fun with his board-based game, which involves pitting personified versions of each element on the periodic table against each other to "capture" electrons. Samar has continued to update the game and created a grant fund for other young entrepreneurs, according to a Taking on the Giant article. He is currently earning his master's degree in computer science at Stanford University.

Additional reporting by Nicole Taylor.

Jennifer Post

Jennifer Post graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. Having worked in the food industry, print and online journalism, and marketing, she is now a freelance contributor for Business News Daily. When she's not working, you will find her exploring her current town of Cape May, NJ or binge watching Pretty Little Liars for the 700th time.