It’s a dream for many to be their own boss. In the UK, a study found that 82% of 16-to-21-year-olds want to start their own business. In fact, it was estimated that 3.2 million Brits would become their own boss in 2018, with woman more likely to take the leap and follow their heart in order to gain that all-important work/life balance.
In some instances, it can take nearly a lifetime to set up a successful business. Take Colonel Sanders, for example. The Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) founder was penniless at the age of 65. Then, following his retirement, he found a desire to share his fried chicken recipe, travelling door to door to do so. As his product got more popular, the need for his own restaurant grew and in 1964, when the Colonel was 74, he sold his company for $2 million at a time when there were 600 franchises selling his trademark chicken into his 70s.
However, not all entrepreneurs take as long to set up their business. Here, we look at some of the biggest companies in the world that had young creators.
Started in his Harvard University dorm room in 2004, Facebook was the brainchild of then 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg. The social media platform was originally solely for Harvard students, but it quickly grew and acquired one million users in its first year. After its second year, Zuckerberg’s company had received a $12.7million USD investment by venture capital firm Accel Partners and expanded to more than 5.5 million users.
In 2010, Zuckerberg was named Person of the Year by Time Magazine and had an estimated net worth of $6.9 billion USD and in December of the same year he signed the ‘Giving Pledge’ in which he promised to donate at least half of his wealth to charity over his lifetime.
To date, Facebook has over one billion users and own millions of subsidiaries, including Instagram and WhatsApp. In 2018, Zuckerberg is estimated to have a net worth of $82 billion USD.
Borrowing $1,000 USD in 1965 from family friend Peter Buck, a 17-year-old Fred De Luca set out in his quest to pay for his college fund by revenue from a sandwich shop. Originally, he opened a restaurant in Boston, serving fresh and affordable sandwiches made to order. Nearly 10 years later, Buck and De Luca owned 16 of the sandwich shops throughout Connecticut and began franchising their brand to help grow the business.
Fast-forward to the present day and the brand – Subway – turns over more than $9 billion USD each year and the chain has over 40,000 worldwide locations. The pair also set up Franchise Brands – a resource which helped franchisors and entrepreneurs gain the knowledge needed to grow their brands, just as Subway did and continue to do. At the time of his death in 2015, De Luca was said to have a net worth of $2.5 billion USD.
The car manufacturer celebrated 120 years on the road in 2018. At 21-years-old, Louis Renault, alongside his brothers Fernand and Marcel, built the company’s first automobile in France and formed automobile firm Renault Frères. By 1902, the company had developed its first two-cylinder engine and produced a lightweight car that won the Paris-Vienna race. Staying in the racing game, a place where Louis Renault felt the business could best make its name, Renault also won the first French Grand Prix in 1906 as the company continued its expansion.
During the First World War, Renault were asked by the Ministry of War to mobilize and were given contracts including ambulances and aircraft engines. They provided ‘taxis’ to transport men to the front line and went down in history as ‘taxis de la Marne’.
In modern times, Renault was said to be the ninth biggest automaker in the world by production volume in 2016 and is still known for its participation in motor sport, particularly rallying, Formula 1 and Formula E. In the UK, the Renault Clio is still one of the most popular cars more than 25 years after it first burst onto the scene.
It’s clear that in business, age is nothing but a number. If you have an idea, potential funding, and the passion to succeed, you too could find yourself sitting on a fortune no matter how old or young you are.