July 26, 2012
10-year-old Exie is a writer, and he sells his stories to family and friends. Buy a tale from him, and he might just hand you a business card and encourage you to buy another.
Exie is the son of Rudy DeFelice, who heads up a new site called Kidworth. Kidworth helps children ages 6-18 start their own companies and actually make money. It also sends them free business cards, an idea dreamed up by Exie and his two siblings.
Young entrepreneurs just set up a company page and start selling their old belongings or advertising their services: washing cars, babysitting, doing yardwork, or anything else you can imagine. One young artist even turns photographs into Japanese anime drawings.
For DeFelice, being a young entrepreneur is about learning responsibility and creativity – a trait that tends to fade over time. “We are all naturally creative; we have to learn to be employees and do what we’re told,” says DeFelice, who remembers delivering papers, working on a farm, and painting houses when he was young. His goal is to help 1 million businesses get started on Kidworth.
If the economy continues to sputter along, DeFelice also wants his three children to know how to carve their own path in the world. He says, “I don’t want these kids to graduate to a 25-30 percent jobless rate and not know how to fish.”
And even for young people who grow up to be employees rather than entrepreneurs, they can still be entrepreneurial. That means taking risks and keeping an eye out for problems to solve and innovations to build within larger companies.
“If you’re a 14-year-old kid, and you understand success – you’ve done something that worked – it will change the way you deal with everything in your life,” DeFelice says.
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