If we want Arizona to become an entrepreneurial hot spot, we have to be willing to shape that hot spot ourselves. This means teaching kids entrepreneurial skills and values from a young age, then providing them with the resources necessary to succeed. Luckily, organizations like and exist to do just that. Together they teach kids ages 6 to 19 the tools for success.
Adam and Matthew Toren wrote Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas! with the goal of positively impacting children’s ability to understand entrepreneurship. The book, aimed at children ages 6 through 12, discusses business skills in bite-sized segments that are easy for kids to understand. Kidpreneurs.org also maintains a blog, where aspiring kidpreneurs can read about young business owners who are catching up with (or surpassing) their adult peers. In short, Kidpreneurs.org is both educational and inspirational. Better yet, Adam and Matthew Toren have committed to donate a book to underprivileged children, nonprofit organizations, and libraries for every Kidpreneurs book sold.
But where does that leave older kids? Teens are stuck between a rock and a hard place—they’re old enough to plan a business, but too young to acquire the right resources. Teenagers with great ideas are too often cast aside as naive and inexperienced. But that’s the opposite of what we want from a community. Instead, we want one that empowers, uplifts, and innovates.
Rising Tycoons is on the case. Founder Olenka Cullinan’s whole life has been uncommon: she moved to the US at the age of 19 with $450 in her pocket, became an educator for life, and built a successful business. With over ten years of experience in business and youth education, Olenka has become one of the nation’s premiere motivational speakers and young entrepreneur experts. Olenka, with Rising Tycoons, has partaken in the development of an amazing wave of young entrepreneurs globally.
Rising Tycoons aims to help teen entrepreneurs achieve success through instruction and encouragement. Its workshops and long-term academies teach kids ages to become successful leaders. Materials teach kids how to gain confidence, market and finance a business, and learn from failure. By the time they get to college, students already have valuable job skills and maintain greater aspirations. They’re less likely to change majors and are more confident in knowing how to run a business. To date, Rising Tycoons has touched lives of over 5,000 teens (in addition to their adult influencers nationwide).
So how are these organizations contributing to the Arizona tech scene? Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas! is helping kids open their minds and build confidence in their abilities from a young age. Rising Tycoons invites young entrepreneurs to showcase events, where teens can pitch tech startups to a panel of judges. The latest pitch in Phoenix showcased three tech ventures: Smart Trigger, Polar Sun Ecosystems, and Frostless Freedom. The winner was Frostless Freedom, started by high school students Aaron Fugleberg, Kirill Bor, and Kaleb Newman. Frostless Freedom is a clear tint that goes across your windshield and prevents the buildup of frost, making for a safer winter drive. The winners are now receiving mentorship by engineers at Arizona State University.
Rising Tycoons is hosting a summer camp this year at Grand Canyon University. The camp will allow students ages 13 to 18 to experience an abbreviated version of the academy in a single week. Students will have the opportunity to present their business plans to a panel of community judges. Registration closes soon, so check it out now at the Rising Tycoons .
Together, we can create a more supportive environment for young entrepreneurs across Arizona. Kidpreneurs.org and Rising Tycoons are just the beginning.
Pictures by Kidpreneurs.org and Rising Tycoons.