In the first of our series about teen entrepreneurs and how they started, what motivated them to start their business, and what business advice they want other teens to know from their experience; not only will you be inspired by them, you will also see how they are not much different from you.

Consider the first 4:

1. Mikaila Ulmer, 11, founded Me & the Bees Lemonade

To get over the fear of bees after she was stung, her grandmother gave her a beverage recipe that required honey as an ingredient, and in time, Mikaila would learn about the contributions of bees to our ecosystem and why they must be protected – a principle she has made part of her business.

Her Advice: 

Be a social entrepreneur. Do something to help solve problems in the world. Don’t go into business to make a lot of money. Create a business that you see the that world is missing, solve a problem with it and do something you have a passion for. Because the more passionate you are about what you do, the more fun you have while doing it!

2. Erik Finman, 17, Founder, Botangle

He was a victim of bullying at school, and once, a pretty mean teacher told him “he would not amount to anything in life.” But not one to be defeated, Erik  dropped out of school and built his own learning environment from home, using a computer and an Internet connection, and called it Botangle. His innovation has helped countless others fulfill their dream of having an education in a safe environment.

His Advice: 

Be selfish. I think [the word] selfish is just a tainted word for self-leadership. Lead yourself through life, do what you love, build what you want to build, go where you want to go.

3. Bella Weems, 19, Founder, Origami Owl

Bella got the idea for her business as a 14 year old after she requested for a car from her parents for when she would turn 16; but in reply, they told her “she had to earn it” And earn it she did! Because by the time her 16th birthday came around, her business was already worth hundreds of millions of naira – and yes, she got herself that car she wanted!

Her Advice:

Take a leap of faith. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Follow your heart and always remember you are never too young to achieve a big dream. Also, a positive attitude is a must. Remember things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay, but no matter what, keep on smiling and enjoy the journey.

4. Isabella Rose Taylor, 15, Founder, Isabella Rose Taylor

An accomplished student, painter and scholar, Isabella excelled in the classroom and out of it. By age 12, spurred on by encouragements from her parents to always follow her dreams, she began selling some of her collections at big retail shops, and soon after showed off her designs at the New York Fashion Week.

Her Advice:

Starting a business is a lot of hard work. Don’t start a business unless you love what you do. Do a lot of research and planning to make sure there is a market for your product. 

This is just the first, brace yourself for more inspiration in subsequent articles.

This post was adapted from one that first appeared in