15-year-old inventor of biodegradable plastic bags Amin Hataman being interviewed on TV. Screengrabbed from CNN Philippines.
What better way to inspire your child to become an entrepreneur than to introduce him to kids who are already CEOs of their own companies, or have awards for inventions that have the potential to change lives. Here are some of those kid-preneurs and the lessons your child can learn from them.
1. Be a problem-solver.
Most great inventions are the products of finding solutions to problems. Sometimes the problem is blatant; other times it isn’t so obvious. Filipino Amin Hataman, who is 15 years old, for instance, earned a spot on Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30 Asia” list by inventing biodegradable plastic bags, a solution to the country’s (and the world’s) growing waste problem. Amin is the youngest on the list, and one of 10 Filipinos from 300 people honoured to be part of the list.
Taylor Rosenthal, a 14-year-old from the U.S., on the other hand, thought up the idea to make vending machines for first aid supplies like bandages, hand sanitizers and sterile wipes; an example of how entrepreneurs are able to spot opportunities that other people cannot.
Taylor thought up his clever first aid vending machine idea through his love for baseball. “Every time I'd travel for a baseball tournament in Alabama, I'd notice that kids would get hurt and parents couldn't find a band-aid,” he told CNN. “I wanted to solve that.”
His first idea on how to solve the issue wasn’t a very good one, however. He thought of setting up a pop-up shop that sold first aid supplies during tournaments. Soon after, he found the flaw. “We noticed that it would cost too much to pay people minimum wage to sit at tournaments for six hours,” he said. After some careful thinking, he struck gold by coming up with the idea of using vending machines instead.
Taylor is the CEO of his company, RecMed and is the youngest person to be invited to TechCrunch Disrupt, one of the world’s leading authorities in debuting revolutionary startups and game-changing technologies.
Amin, inventor of the biodegradable plastic bag, was born and raised in Basilan and its beautiful beaches. And so, it was the sea that inspired his biodegradable plastic bag project. “The abundance of this beautiful natural wonders has taught me that we have important roles to play as caretakers of the earth. We should not take for granted whatever is around us,” he told Rappler.
His project, he believes, will lessen the garbage and waste that make their way to the sea and pollute the oceans and endanger the marine wildlife. “I have seen how people dispose of plastic bags, throw them improperly or burn them. We know that that’s not the right way to do it,” he said.
His biodegradable plastic bags have won Amin the gold medal at the International Young Inventors Olympiad and the bronze medal at the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering and Environment Project both held in the U.S.
Maya Penn is a 16-year-old environmentalist and entrepreneur from the U.S. She started her own company when she was just 8 years old. Now, she has her own non-profit organization, is the author of several published books, creates her own animated series and has her own clothing line. All of it stems from her love of the environment and a desire to share that love to other people.
“I’ve always been passionate about incorporating eco-friendliness into basically everything that I do,” she told Huffington Post. “My parents instilled in me from a very early age to always give back to the environment and community. With my company ‘Maya's ideas’, 10 to 20 percent of the profits I make go to charities and environmental organizations.”
5. Dream big.
Like Amin, Leandro Leviste has also earned a spot on Forbe’s “30 Under 30 Asia” list. He is the second youngest among the Filipino honorees at 22 years old. He founded Solar Philippines because he was convinced that electricity rates in the country can be lowered through solar power. Now, the company owns the largest solar farm in Luzon, a project costing $150-million (P6.75 billion).