100 Best Young Entrepreneurs
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Nobody said being an entrepreneur is easy. It requires bold determination, hard work, a lot of late nights, and a little bit of luck. And being young and spry doesn’t necessarily help. Young entrepreneurs in particular face a number of hurdles in getting their companies off and running.
But the young entrepreneurs just named to the 2012 Empact100 list sure do make it look easy.
“Young entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily the future. They’ve already arrived,” says Michael Simmons, co-founder of Empact, an organization whose sole purpose is to inspire and guide the young entrepreneurs of today into the world of business titans of tomorrow. “The tools that are there out today -- things like crowdfunding, virtual phone systems that let you work from anywhere -- make it possible to start a company with little resources or established networks and be successful at a young age.”
Launched last year by Empact, and in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, Startup America and Opportunity International, the Empact100 list is designed to recognize the top 100 entrepreneurs age 30 and younger who lead companies that make at least $100,000 in annual revenues.
The honorees on the Empact100 are a testament to the fact that anyone from any background can still live the American dream. The list covers every industry, from advertising and marketing to transportation. The average age of an Empact100 entrepreneur is 28 years old and they started their companies on average just five years ago. Together, the Empact100 companies employed 5,756 people and earned just over $1 billion in revenue.
The group will be honored at a luncheon at the U.S. Chamber on September 29 before walking over to the White House for a recognition event. Simmons says he hopes the high-profile events shine a light on the important role that entrepreneurs of all ages play in solving the jobs crisis. ”We as a country need to learn how to support them better and young entrepreneurs are great examples of the spirit we want to personify,” Simmons says.
So, why 100 instead of 30 Under 30 (like Inc magazine) or 40 Under 40 (like CNN Money)? Always a businessman at heart (he started his first company when he was 16-years-old), Simmons is after volume. “We wanted to include the largest list to showcase the diversity, race and gender of young entrepreneurs. Secondly, we connect young entrepreneurs with students at colleges to share their stories. The more numbers you have, the more you can do that, and the more stories that get out there.”