Many of us hold aspirations to become our own boss. A study of UK 16-21-year-olds has found that 82% have dreams to start their own business. In fact, estimations showed that approximately 3.2 million Brits became their own boss last year. Of this number, studies found that women were more likely to jump into a business idea so they could find the perfect work/life balance.
For some, it might take most of their life to set up their 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, this isn’t always the case. Here, we look at some of the biggest companies in the world that had young creators.
Facebook was the brainchild of a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg. It was started in his Harvard University dorm room in 2004 and 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, Time Magazine named Zuckerberg Person of the Year and he had accumulated and estimated net worth of $6.9 billion USD. By 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.
A 17-year-old Fred De Luca had to borrow $1,000 USD in 1965 from a family friend named Peter Buck in order to start his business venture. This money helped him gain 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.
To date, the Subway brand turns over more than $9 billion USD annually and 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.
In 2018, the car manufacturer celebrated 120 years on the road. 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.
Renault were asked by the Ministry of War in the First World War to help mobilise the country 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 2016, Renault were named the ninth biggest automaker in the world by production volume. They are still known for their 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.
This shows that in business, age is clearly 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.