The media’s focus on teen app developers and coders doesn’t tell the full story of young entrepreneurs. Yes, examples like Nick D’Aloisio, who reportedly made $30 million by selling a news summary app called Summly to Yahoo!, do exist.
However, despite the handful of successful high-tech and web start-ups, teens are starting low-tech, green, charitable, and science-based enterprises in the US and around the world in far greater numbers. Unbound by the restrictions of the adult mind, young people are doing innovative things – sometimes motivated by the desire to make money or the goal to improve lives.
TeenBusiness.com chronicles the diverse range of teen entrepreneurs, investors, and inventors. Here are a few examples of young entrepreneurs and inventors the site recently featured:
17-year-old Matthew Kaplan of Phoenix Arizona, started an anti-bullying program, the Be O.N.E. Project for which he received a Disney Award.
Several teens in an MIT entrepreneurship program are raising funds for their company, Artisuns -- a platform to female artisans from developing countries sell their hand-made goods.
Bella Weems, a teenager from Arizona, US is approaching revenues of over $250 million this year with her own jewelry business, Origami Owl.
At 17 years old, Avani Singh of New Delhi, India founded Ummeed – a program that trains women from the slums of Delhi to become electric-powered rickshaw taxi drivers to help support their families.
15-year-old Nicole Ticea from Vancouver, Canada devised an early-stage HIV test that analyzes a pinprick of blood to indicate whether someone has recently been infected with the potentially deadly virus.
Andrew Mupuy from Kasokoso, Uganda started his eco-friendly paper bag manufacturing business, Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments, at age 16 after learning of the environmental hazards of plastic bags; he now employs about 20 people.
“I started Origami Owl with $350 and a simple dream in mind—getting a car on my 16th birthday. So, with all of my babysitting money and my family’s support, I set out to start my own business and created Origami Owl,” said Bella Weems whose company will make revenues of about a quarter of a billion USD this year.
Carter Kostler, a 15-year-old from Virginia in the US who was featured as a guest on ABC Television’s Shark Tank, had a different motivation for starting his own business. He was concerned about the youth obesity epidemic caused by the consumption of sugary drinks.
According to Nkem Modu, the Chief Curator of TeenBusiness.com, “There are so many inspiring stories about teens exploring their hobbies and talents and turning them into businesses. It’s exciting to discover and share their experiences and motivate others.” Much more than providing inspiration for other teens, the site contains a wealth of learning guides and videos.
> See Many More Examples Of Extraordinary Young Entrepreneurs About TeenBusiness.com: TeenBusiness.com is the global resource for teen entrepreneurs, investors, and inventors. Formerly known as TeenVestor.com, it is the first website that covers both youth entrepreneurship and investing through creating and curating essential resources for its growing audience. The Wall Street Journal recommends the site as one of the best sites for teen entrepreneurs.
Market capitalization (or market cap) gives you an indication of the size of a company. It is the number of shares held by the public times the current stock price. Mathematically, it is represented as follows:
Market Capitalization = (# of Shares) x (Current Stock Price)
As you can see from the above formula, the market cap of a company changes as its stock price changes. You can get the market capitalization of a company from a financial website such as Yahoo Finance once you have the company's stock symbol (which you can also get from Yahoo Finance). At the time of this writing, the market cap for PepsiCo, Apple, McDonald's, and Merck were as follows:
Investors typically use the terms mega-cap, large-cap, mid-cap, small-cap, micro-cap, and nano-cap to classify the size of companies. There are no clear-cut numbers for determining whether to classify a company in one category or another. The Motley Fool, a company that runs a popular investment website, suggests the following classification for the market cap of companies:
Nano-cap: Market cap less than $50 million Micro-cap: Market cap between $50 million and $250 million Small-cap: Market cap between $250 million and $2 billion Mid-cap: Market cap between $2 billion and $10 billion Large-cap: Market cap between $10 billion and $100 billion Mega-cap: Market cap greater than > $100 billion
We recommend that beginning Teenvestors start with large-cap or mega-cap companies because their stock prices don’t go up or down as much as the stock prices of smaller companies. The general rule is that the bigger a company is, the less the stock price will move up or down. The U.S. stock index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow), consists only of large-cap or mega-cap stocks, which generally have stable prices over a short period of time. But of course, stable prices also mean that the stocks in the Dow don’t appreciate quickly either.
Occasionally, large-cap stocks can go bust such as was the case in 2009 when General Motors – a company that was over 100 years old – filed for bankruptcy protection and was subsequently bailed out by the United States government. Over a long period of time, however, large-cap or mega-cap shares generally do well except perhaps under the worst of economic circumstances.
After getting your feet wet with large-cap or meg-cap companies, you can also try companies in the higher range of the mid-cap classification (i.e. market cap of $10 billion and above). We recommend that you stay away from small-caps until you’re really good at doing company research (which might be three or four years from now).
Under no circumstances should you invest in micro-cap or nano-cap stocks (which cover stocks known as penny stocks). Some beginning investors find penny stocks attractive because they can be bought for a few dollars per share, or even for pennies per share. But these stocks are extremely risky; it is difficult to get reliable information about the companies that can tell the investor whether their stocks are good investments or not. In fact, these types of stocks are open to fraud by brokers for reasons that are beyond the topic of this book. To put it plainly, there is a good chance you will lose your money with penny stocks unless you really know what you are doing and you have a reliable source of legitimate company information.
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