What Is Youth Entrepreneurship?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Youth entrepreneurship may involve raking leaves.
Youth entrepreneurship may involve raking leaves.

Youth entrepreneurship is a term that refers to children who are also business people. While most entrepreneurs are adults, people can and do start businesses while they are children or adolescents. In fact, children often start businesses that are successful or even become entrepreneurs who start more than one business before they reach the age of majority. Many are able to make this happen with little help from adults, though they may need their parents or guardians to sign legal forms on their behalf.

Just about anyone with entrepreneurial spirit can start a business, and this applies to children as well. Children have long done odd jobs, such as washing cars or raking leaves for money, but interest in youth entrepreneurship seems to be growing. Instead of just earning money from odd jobs here or there, some children are taking an interest in starting their own businesses and deciding when and how they will earn money.

Youth entrepreneurship can refer to any type of business a child or adolescent chooses to start. For example, a youth may choose to start a babysitting service or a car-washing business. Others may make a business out of providing lawn care or running errands. Sometimes youth entrepreneurship interest drives young people to start businesses on the Internet. For example, a child or adolescent may create a blog and monetize it, create websites for clients, or take advantage of money-making opportunities on online auction websites.

Other businesses a youth might consider are those that involve making things and fulfilling needs in a community. If a young person has a crafting talent, he may use it to make money in his business; for example, some make money designing and sewing while others craft handmade toys. A child or adolescent might also notice a need for a product in his community and then set out to invent a product that fulfills that need.

A child or adolescent may venture into youth entrepreneurship on his own or with the help of his parents. There are even some organizations that specifically focus on providing help for young people who want to become entrepreneurs. An interested party can also find helpful youth entrepreneurship books and websites. It is important to note, however, that even a child who starts a business entirely on his own will likely need some assistance from an adult who is responsible for him. Typically, he’ll need his parent or guardian to sign any legal documents required for starting or conducting the business.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


@kentuckycat - That is a really good question. There is no minimum age before someone can have to file a tax return. Uncle Sam always has to get his money no matter who earns it. I don't know exactly, but I think if you are under 15, a child would be able to add his or her income onto a parent's income. If that would put the parent into a new tax bracket, they could just file a separate return. I want to say that you are able to earn 999 dollars before the amount qualifies as taxable income.

The chances of a kid doing odd jobs to make over the threshold isn't likely, but they aren't going to be filling out tax forms, so it would be pretty hard to keep track of income anyway. If you're talking about a more legitimate business, though, that would be a little bit more easily traced.

I would say it's partially up to the parent to keep track of those things, since I have a feeling they would be the person getting in trouble if their kid is a minor and not reporting large amount of income.


Where I live, there was a kid a few years ago that started his own energy drink company. At the time he actually made the company and everything, I think he was 17, but I'm sure he got an early start learning about how to be a youth entrepreneur.

This article did get me thinking about something interesting, though. Imagine someone who is 14 or so who came up with a good idea for a product and then made it and started the marketing and selling process. How would they go about paying taxes on their money? Isn't there a minimum age that you don't have to pay taxes? Also, what is the maximum income someone could make before they did have to file a tax return?


@Emilski - I think you make a great point that parents should take note of. Even though kids might be doing these jobs and making money for the first time, it's important you don't let them lose sight of the fact that they're still kids and they should enjoy it while it lasts. After all, what's the point of having money if you don't have time to spend any of it?

Along a similar point, though, I think it's also up to parents to teach responsible money management. If kids get in the habit early on of spending money as soon as they make it, it's going to be harder to learn how to management money for bills later on in life. I've seen a lot of people who didn't learn this lesson, and it has hurt them in the long run.

If you're encouraging your child to go to college, convincing them to invest in a college fund, or at least having them put money in some sort of savings account or CD could come in handy down the road.


I know when I was younger, I did a lot of the things the article mentions. I started off just mowing the yard for family members for a 5 or 10 dollars. Eventually, a friend and I got together and started mowing 6 or 7 lawn every summer until we were 16 or so and got "real" jobs. We also did other odd jobs for a lot of people around town like yard work and helping them move.

We were fortunate enough to live in a small town where word of mouth is really important for youth entrepreneurs. One person would tell someone else, and the next thing you know we were never short of jobs to do. We even had to start turning people down at one point, because we still wanted to be able to enjoy part of our summers.


@everetra - I wish I had that lesson when I was a child! It would have spared me many troubles years later.

One thing that I would encourage is for young people to look into social entrepreneurship programs. These are programs that focus on making a positive change in the community.

I like this concept because it fosters a sense of social responsibility. Kids aren’t just making money; they’re making the world a better place.

You might want to look online for social entrepreneurship programs in your town or check with local volunteer organizations that may have some good connections in this regard.


@nony - My son is very entrepreneurial. He does the lemonade stands, garage sales, and even taking care of other people’s pets while they are away (they pay him well, too).

I think it’s great that kids can start learning to make money at a young age. As parents, we try to seize upon those opportunities to also teach him good money management skills, the importance of putting money in the bank, and so forth.

Sometimes my son wants to take his money and go out and splurge on something – like some cartoon books that he’s had his eyes on. I don’t prevent him from doing so, but I have him look at the price tag, have him look at the money he has in his hand, and calculate what will be left over after the sale.

I let those numbers sink in. I’ll then let him buy if that’s what he really wants to do.


My kids got started making money at a very young age, almost by accident. A local movie production studio was shooting a film and they wanted a girl with a certain “look.” We heard about it through the grapevine and had my daughter audition.

I seriously didn’t think anything would come of it. The next thing I know, she got a call for a second audition, and before you know it, she got the part!

It was a made for TV Christmas movie and they show it on some of the cable channels every year.

From that point on, we got her – and her brother –signed up with a local talent agency. Between the both of them, they’ve done commercials, public service announcements and modeling.

Her money is already helping to pay for her college tuition. I wish I had started working that young.


My friends and I are interested in selling some of the accessories we have made with part of the proceeds going to charity and are wondering whether or not youth social entrepreneurship would be for us?

We are already part of a Christian youth program at our church and really want to make some money that can be put to good use. We have looked into some youth programs at our school and they just don't seem to offer us the charitable angle we're looking for. While we would like to earn money for ourselves, the charitable donation aspect is a huge thing to us.

Right now we have a small business plan set up and would like to present it to our chosen charity so that they know we are raising proceeds through them. Having their name alongside ours I am sure will help the cause. Do you think this is a good way to start?


@manykitties2 - You should look online and see if there are any youth entrepreneurship programs running in your area. Usually youth development is a big issue just before summertime as a lot of government programs are aimed at making youth successful during the summer vacation period.

I personally feel that youth services offered at the local unemployment office may be of use. Sometimes they have workshops specifically to teach people about how to start a business and be successful. Another good idea is to buy a book or two on youth entrepreneurship for some ideas on how to make a business plan.


Does anyone know what kind of services are available to help a teenager start up their own at home business?

My son has a lot of great ideas about how he can make money at home and I really want to encourage him to be a youth entrepreneur. I feel that business entrepreneurship isn't just for adults, and that if you have the ideas and resources you should go for it.

Right now we are lacking the resources to help him get his business started. I really feel he needs to talk to a professional about what his business goals are so he doesn't fail.

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    • Youth entrepreneurship may involve raking leaves.
      Youth entrepreneurship may involve raking leaves.