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Biz Kids

Owning a franchise is far from child's play for these young entrepreneurs.

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This story appears in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Franchise opportunities run the gamut from pooper-scoopers to dating services, but even more startling than the diverse options is the age at which entrepreneurs are getting started. There's a new breed of young franchisees who are energetic and ready to go. These go-getters may be young, but they are definitely in control.

Smooth Operator

At age 16, Catherine Peña manned the blender at her local Smoothie King, whipping up fresh fruit smoothies. Little did she know these tasty concoctions would become the recipe of her life. By the time she was 18, she had worked her way up to store manager. At 22, with her mom as her financial backer, Peña purchased her very own location in Corpus Christi, Texas, thereby becoming the youngest Smoothie King franchisee-a title she still holds at the age of 25. "I feel like I was bred at Smoothie King," Peña says.

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