Get All Access for $5/mo

3 Lessons on Launching From 3 Young, Early-Stage Founders They know how to harness ideas - and fearlessly take action.

By Entrepreneur Staff

This story appears in the September 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

solidcolours | Getty Images

As part of our annual Young Millionaires cover story, we spoke to three up-and-coming thinkers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who are on track to be tomorrow's leaders. Here's their advice for taking action.

Nature’s Label

Starting small, thinking big

Arya Mathew, 21

Cofounder and CEO, Nature's Label

You probably don't think much about those little stickers that come on produce, but they represent a potentially big problem. "Our journey began when one of our team members accidentally swallowed a plastic product sticker," says Arya Mathew, CEO of Nature's Label. "We determined that while relatively safe to consume, these stickers have a much more concerning impact on the environment." In fact, each year, avocados, oranges, and bananas sold in the U.S. are labeled with enough plastic stickers to wrap around the Earth 1.6 times — and their presence forces nearly 15 percent of compost to be thrown into landfills.

Now Mathew, along with cofounders Sophie Ye, 20, Khoi Ha, 21, Alyssa Mell, 21, and Siddhant Jain, 21, are creating a solution called Nature's Label: eco-friendly stickers made of rice paper, wax, and a compostable adhesive. They're all undergrads at the University of Washington and Seattle University, and they're being funded in part by a recent $10,000 win at Seattle University's Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition. "Bringing an idea to reality is not easy," says cofounder Mell. "We've learned to use feedback and criticism as fuel rather than discouragement."

Related: 5 Truths That Made Me a Millionaire at 22


Capturing value while creating value

Phat Le, 25

Founder and CEO, Blest

Phat Le was studying aerospace engineering when he realized that college just wasn't for him. He dropped out and tried educating himself, but he was underwhelmed by the options — just online courses and virtual classrooms. "At the same time," he says,

"I saw that consumers are willing to pay more for premium content, but creators are stuck duct-taping multiple products together to provide that experience."

So he knew what to do: He'd build a better product.

Le already had a résumé built on self-­determination — he was a self-taught UI designer and software engineer and a recipient of the $100,000 Thiel Fellowship in 2017, as well as an entrepreneur in residence at Jaguar Land Rover. Now he's created Blest: The ad-free platform hosts courses, memberships, and other products to serve online communities. "We want to help people run their entire business from one place, to capture more of the value they're creating," he says. A public beta comes out this year, and Blest is slated to launch in 2021. And just as his company is all about community, Le has learned that entrepreneurship is, too. "Pick your friends wisely," he advises. "People who challenge you, inspire you. You are the sum of the top five people you surround yourself with."

Related: 3 Insights About Entrepreneurship Inspired by Youth

Giullian Yao Gioiello

First passion, then pragmatism

Ann Makosinski, 22


When Ann Makosinski was a kid, her parents didn't shower her with toys or electronics. She's grateful. "If I wanted more toys, I was given a glue gun and told to make my own," she says. "If I wanted a toy house, I made it out of cardboard. If I had grown up owning a smartphone, I would be a very, very different person."

Today she's an inventor — one who, at 15, won the top prize for her age category at the Google Science Fair for her flashlight powered by the energy from a human hand. Makosinski is now repurposing that patented technology to create eco-conscious toys. "For me, an inventor is someone who has an idea and turns it into something tangible, and an entrepreneur takes that invention and turns it into something commercially viable," she says. "I enjoy the inventor aspect more, but I'm also playing the part of the entrepreneur, pitching to different companies. Success in business is not something you just wake up one morning and have. It takes years of hard work. But you must be passionate. The rest will follow."

Related: 7 Mental Shifts That Allowed Me to Become a Millionaire at 22

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


For more than 30 years, Entrepreneur has set the course for success for millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners. We'll teach you the secrets of the winners and give you exactly what you need to lay the groundwork for success.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


How to Close the Trust Gap Between You and Your Team — 5 Strategies for Leaders

Trust is tanking in your workplace. Here's how to fix it and become the boss your team needs to succeed.

Health & Wellness

Get a Year of Unlimited Yoga Class Downloads for Only $23 Through June 17

Regular exercise has been proven to increase energy and focus, both of which are valuable to entrepreneurs and well-known benefits of yoga.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

'Passing By Wide Margins': Elon Musk Celebrates His 'Guaranteed Win' of the Highest Pay Package in U.S. Corporate History

Musk's Tesla pay package is almost 140 times higher than the annual pay of other high-performing CEOs.

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Business Culture

Why Remote Work Policies Are Good For the Environment

Remote work policies are crucial for ESG guidelines. Embracing remote work can positively impact your business and employees.