When you think "entrepreneur," you probably don't think a first-grader. However, there are no rules about age when it comes to starting your own company (well, there are, but many parents are willing to help out in that department if it feels right). On Shark Tank, the sharks are open to opportunities regardless of the founder's age--and while they're kind to these mini sharks-to-be, that doesn't mean they cut them a break.
It's still business, it's still real money, and the sharks can't be baited in on cuteness alone. Check out some of the youngest entrepreneurs who've been featured on Shark Tank and the lucky few who won over the big fish.
1. Kiowa Kavovit
Kavovit was six years old when she appeared on Shark Tank, but she was only four when she came up with the idea for Boo Boo Goo. It's a totally natural skin protectant that you can paint on as a bandage. In kid-friendly colors and waterproof (naturally), it has the added benefit of no-pain removal. Her dad, Andrew, is also an inventor and says, "It's my hope that my children grow up thinking outside the box when it comes to careers--it will just give them more freedom in their lives later."
She reeled in the sharks, scoring $100,000.
2. Henry Miller
At 16, Miller had already created a delectable recipe for "Henry's Humdingers," a spiced honey that he thought was really taking off. Noting, "Over the weekend we've had $50,000 of online sales--that was mind-blowing." However, this was only after selling three fourths of his company to Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban for $300,000. Before that, he only sold roughly 130 orders the previous four years.
However, the sharks weren't Miller's first supporters. His parents had lent him $150,000 to get started, and part of the shark deal was that he had to pay back his parents first.
3. Jake, Lachlan and Erin Johnson
These siblings (ages 13, 16 and 18) were bored out of their mind when stuck in traffic jams. This led to a stressful time for the whole family--until they invented their own interactive bracelets. Dubbed Flipoutz, Lachlan says, "We came up with it on a long ride home from the beach. We were all bickering in the back seat, and in an attempt for some peace, my parents asked us to come up with a toy we'd like to have."
Their invention wowed the sharks, who offered up $100,000 on the show, which has since helped shoot them towards a lucrative business.
4. Mo Bridges
The sharks don't always bite--or the investors don't always take the deal--but that doesn't mean success won't happen. Mo Bridges was nine when he pitched his collection of kid-friendly bow ties on the Tank. He went in asking for $50,000 for 20 percent equity and although Kevin O'Leary gave him an offer, he passed.
Today, he says he's glad he didn't take the money, and the appearance alone opened up a world of opportunity. It caught the attention of Michael de Castillo, who reached out to become a mentor.
If you swim with the sharks, no matter your size, you better come prepared. These young people did, and it paid dividends down the road. They brought their enthusiasm, hard work, and products with great revenue potential to the table. If they can do it, anyone can bait the hook.