Self-made ty­coons – be­fore they’ve even left school

Once upon a time, teenagers stayed out all night and in bed all morn­ing. Not so Gen­er­a­tion Z. Brought up on aus­ter­ity and in­se­cu­rity, they are am­bi­tious, sharp and wildly hard-work­ing. Rad­hika Sang­hani meets four baby-faced en­trepreneur­s. Por­traits by Sil

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

From prop­erty to horse feed, Gen­er­a­tion Z en­trepreneur­s are mak­ing a mint. Rad­hika Sang­hani meets four of them


When we hear the word ‘teenager’, most of us think back to our own ado­les­cent selves, nav­i­gat­ing our way through young love and rag­ing hor­mones, fu­elled by loud mu­sic and re­bel­lion. But to­day’s Gen­er­a­tion Z has pro­duced a new breed of teen that turns this def­i­ni­tion on its head: the ty­coon. Un­like pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, these en­trepreneur­ial young­sters are too busy build­ing em­pires to think about par­ties and proms, and as a re­sult they are now reap­ing the fi­nan­cial re­wards.

An Amer­i­can study in 2015 found that more than 55 per cent of teens were ‘will­ing to work over­time’ – the high­est per­cent­age since 1993, and a rise on the 44 per cent of ‘mil­len­nial’ teens back in 2004. In her book igen, psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor Jean Twenge ex­plains that the ‘igen­er­a­tion’ – so named af­ter their smart­phone ad­dic­tions – is one of the most hard-work­ing. ‘Mil­len­ni­als grew up in eco­nomic pros­per­ity and thought ev­ery­thing would be easy,’ she ex­plains. ‘The igen doesn’t have that il­lu­sion.’

To­day’s teens aren’t afraid of hard work, and they’re driven. Plus, hav­ing grown up with so­cial me­dia and the spirit of en­trepreneur­i­al­ism, the idea of start­ing up their own busi­nesses seems like a re­al­is­tic goal rather than a pipe dream. It’s no won­der some have al­ready launched com­pa­nies while still at school rather than wait­ing to grad­u­ate. Kate and An­nie Mad­den, for in­stance, the Ir­ish sis­ters who are jug­gling their in­no­va­tive equine busi­ness with school and uni­ver­sity. Or 20-year-old Ak­shay Ru­par­e­lia, who turned down a place at Ox­ford to fo­cus on the es­tate agency he launched dur­ing his A lev­els, and Ol­lie Forsyth, who came up with his first busi­ness idea at 13.

These young ty­coons all started earn­ing thou­sands be­fore fin­ish­ing school – and they’re still go­ing strong…

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