Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes – and ages.
Some people are captured by the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. These are the ones who set up lemonade stands outside of their house, or sell their homemade artwork.
It’s cute but it also demonstrates an innate interest and enthusiasm for doing their own thing.
It’s something we should celebrate and encourage.
One of the most heartwarming and interesting stories about a young entrepreneur recently unfolded in East Los Angeles, where nine-year-old Caine Monroy captured the attention and imagination of the Web for his do-it-yourself cardboard arcade.
He started to create the arcade while spending time during the summer at his father’s used auto parts store, Smart Parts Aftermarket.
Using cardboard shipping boxes, Caine created his own games, and sold tickets ($1 for four plays, $2 for 500 plays).
Despite a lack of customers, Caine enthusiastically and diligently operated his arcade on the weekends.
Caine’s business and life changed dramatically when a new customer, Nirvan Mullick, stumbled upon the arcade after visiting the store to find a door handle for his ’96 Corolla.
Enchanted with the arcade, Mr. Mullick asked Caine’s father, David, if he could create a short film.
Thinking it would be a great idea to boost Caine’s spirits and embolden his entrepreneurial efforts, David gave the project the green light.
Mr. Mullick decided not only to make a film but also to organize an event that he posted on Facebook.
It quickly went viral after it appeared on a popular social media service called Reddit. Pretty soon, Caine was attracting media attention.
Meanwhile, the event Mr. Mullick organized attracted the attention of lots of people who wanted to check out and celebrate the arcade.
While Caine’s father took him out for pizza, hundreds of people gathered at the arcade to surprise Caine when he returned. Needless to say, he was delighted.
What has made the story even more inspiring is the creation of the Caines Arcade Scholarship Fund so people could donate money to Caine’s college education, which has surpassed $100,000.
This is a classic story of the entrepreneurial spirit that probably exists in all of us. For many people, it never surfaces. In some people, however, it appears at any time, place, or age.
While few young entrepreneurs will be lucky enough to get the attention Caine has received, the important thing is to make sure to nurture this activity. You never know who the next Sam Walton or Bill Gates might be.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.
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