(YoungBiz.com) - American teens believe in business. In fact, a Gallup survey reports that 70 percent of American teens would like to own a business. What are they doing about it? They're entering college programs on entrepreneurship by the droves, for one thing. But a growing number of these entrepreneurial-minded teens ('treps, as they call themselves) aren't willing to wait. They're starting businesses now, while they're still in high school--or even junior high.
Take 17-year-old Matt Chaifetz in Manhasset, New York. On the phone, he sounds like any other high school student in America. But he travels to Puerto Rico regularly on business, takes awesome vacations most of us only dream about, and recently appeared on Business Week TV to discuss his award-winning travel business, Innovative Travel Concepts (ITC).
ITC is a travel booking service that Chaifetz started when he was 13. His clients are travel agents across the United States who use his booking service to make travel arrangements for their own clients. ITC also makes things easier for travel agents by providing record-keeping, handling commissions, filing reports and offering access to reservation networks. Currently, Chaifetz has about 500 clients and does about $1 million in sales per year.
Average Income for Teens
Matt ranked No. 6 last year in the annual YoungBiz 100 list of top teen entrepreneurs in the United States. This report, posted on www.youngbiz.com, indicates that the top 10 winners in 2001 earned more than $5.5 million combined in annual profit, which is an average income of $550,000. The other 90 winners earned an average annual profit of $17,389--which means they earned about $23.13 for every hour they worked at their business ventures.
So what are the most profitable businesses for young entrepreneurs? According to the YoungBiz 100, tech businesses rule. More than 33 percent of the top 100 'treps sell computer hardware or software, design Web sites or are involved in selling products over the Internet.