Young entrepreneurship is not unique to the United States. Teens and twentysomethings from all over the world have been working hard to change lives for the better. Some of them have created technology and companies that will not only help their immediate communities but the entire world.
All of the young entrepreneurs listed below are prodigies in their fields. Thanks to their creativity, intelligence, innovation, and hustle, they are making the world a better place for everyone.
1. JOE KHAN AND YASYF MOHAMEDALI, KARUNA HEALTH (South Africa, USA, Canada)
The American healthcare system can be tough to navigate, even for healthy individuals with good insurance and access to doctors. So, imagine what it must be like for immigrants, the uninsured, and others without privilege.
That’s what South African student Joe Khan realized when he attended Harvard University while fighting a months-long illness. Through an investment fund called The Dorm Room Fund, he met MIT student Yasyf Mohamedali, whose parents are doctors in rural Canada. In 2019 they launched Karuna Health, a platform designed to help patients streamline all aspects of their health care in one place. Karuna Health was bought by Commure in 2021 and is now part of a larger healthcare platform.
2. BABUR JAHID, YOUSEECLEAR (Afghanistan)
Having witnessed the hardships endured by his fellow Afghans, Babur Jahid realized early on that public health crises need to be addressed so that a nation can thrive. How many people were unable to get jobs or help their families because of vision problems? And why were eye exams and prescription glasses so expensive and hard to come by?
That’s why Babur Jahid started YouSeeClear, an organization that seeks to lift members of his community through improved eye health. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for public health brought him to study in both Canada and the United States. But it’s his passion for helping others through public health services that brought him back to his home in Kabul, where he’s working hard to make life better for those around him.
3. TILAK MEHTA, PAPERS-AND-PARCEL (India)
Can’t run errands right now? Need some small items right away? Young Tilak Mehta did, and that’s why he started his company, Papers-and-Parcels (PNP) at age 15.
PNP is already a top delivery app in India, with over 200 employees and 300 Dabbawala couriers. And the company is still growing! Even while he attends school like any other teenager, Tilak Mehta is husting and disrupting the tech industry with his entrepreneurial spirit. We can’t wait to see what he does next!
4. FLORENCE CHIKEZIE, REDAHLIA WORKSPACES (Nigeria)
As the world grows and changes the way people work, the workplace itself is growing and changing. During the lockdown, companies and their employees learned that not everyone needs to come into an office every day.
That’s where Florence Chikezie and her revolutionary company, ReDahlia Workspaces came in. With a business education that spans the globe, she knows the power and importance of the right workspace for every entrepreneur’s individual needs. ReDahlia helps Nigerian business workers find anything from shared desk space to a private meeting room. Doing so, she believes, helps power the engine of entrepreneurship.
5. MATEO SALVATTO, HÁBLALO (Argentina)
As most young people are aware, the idea of “inclusion” isn’t limited to race, gender, sexuality, or religion. It also means including people of all abilities – both physical and mental – in the conversation. That’s why Mateo Salvatto invented an app called “Háblalo.”
The app is designed to help those who might have trouble communicating. But unlike other translating to text-to-speech apps, this one can be used offline and with no cost. The app contains emergency phrases that don’t need to be typed out, instructions for others who might use the app, and even pictogram screens for those who have trouble reading small screens (or can’t read at all). This app is a major game-changer in the world of fighting ableist culture.
6. SHARNDRE KUSHOR AND JAMIE BEATON, CRIMSON EDUCATION (New Zealand)
Getting into top schools in the U.S. and England is already a tough grind. For international students trying to make it into, say, Harvard, that grind can be twice as tough. That’s why high-achieving young entrepreneurs Sharndre Kushor and Jamie Beaton created their company, Crimson Education.
Their company offers an enormous range of support for students around the world looking to gain admission to some of America’s and England’s highest-ranked universities. From online tutoring to admissions counseling to extracurricular mentoring, Crimson Education provides everything a student needs on their college application. To date, the company has had more than 500 of its clients receive offers to Ivy League schools, Oxford, and Cambridge!
7. SOPHIE KIM, MARKET KURLY (South Korea)
With a passion for healthy food and years of experience in the financial industry, Sophie Kim began her business in 2014. Market Kurly is now one of the biggest food delivery apps in one of the world’s five biggest e-commerce markets.
Sophie Kim created Market Kurly in response to a need she perceived in grocery shopping. Namely, she felt that many in her generation weren’t finding the things they wanted to buy in a way that was convenient and compatible with their lifestyles. In 2021, Market Kurly went public with an IPO in South Korea, with plans to go greener and further streamline its process.
Did you notice anything in common between these seven successful young entrepreneurs? Every single one created a business based on a need. And every single one is invested in social entrepreneurship. These young entrepreneurs are ideal examples of how younger Millennials and rising Gen Zers are disrupting the status quo in business and technology. They are shaping a future that includes everyone, using their education and drive to help others.
While considering your own entrepreneurial journey, think about how something as small as a text-to-voice app can change the lives of people all over the world. What problems do you have that can be fixed with an app or a new way of shopping? Changing the world isn’t about doing something big; it’s about taking on one problem at a time with solutions that anyone can use.
Click here to learn how the Kantner Foundation helps young entrepreneurs by offering college scholarships to Florida high school students.