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Have Some Respect

When age is not an obstable.

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This story appears in the January 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Ryan Smith and Mike Fridgen founded Seattle-based International Student Tours last January, they had no idea their ages would be a major hurdle. In those early days, credibility was a big problem for Smith, 24, and Fridgen, 22. The partners, along with their staff of 35 (all aged 25 or younger), provide escorted spring break and graduation trips to Mexico and Hawaii for high school and college students in the Northwest.

"In Mexico, we would meet with hotel managers to set up contracts and weren't taken seriously," says Fridgen, the company's president. "We ended up bringing in an older advisor to participate in the negotiations with us."

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