Follow TV Tropes


Young Entrepreneur

Go To
Giving unwanted advice since 1959.

Cubert: Actually, thanks to Dwight's brilliant accounting and my unaccountable brilliance ... our paper route now has over a million customers!
Dwight: We're finally making more money than you guys! Aren't you impressed now, Pops? Aren'tcha? Aren'tcha?

These children are great with money and are always looking for creative ways to make more. They always seem to be coming up with one Zany Scheme after another, ranging from the clichéd lemonade stand or car wash to more complicated ventures. Some may try to cheat other children, and occasionally adults, out of their cash. Children in elementary school are often depicted selling candy or toys. High school youths may be depicted selling drugs or helping students avoid the Trojan Gauntlet at the drugstore.

If they're good at developing and marketing new products and services, they could also be a Child Prodigy or a Teen Genius. In shows with a particularly lax depiction of realism, or if the kid's supposed to be just that good, these children could even have their own legitimate companies with actual employeees and clients who take them seriously. See also High-School Hustler if the products and services are Black Market or contraband items.

Some might become Honest Johns when grown-up.


    open/close all folders 

  • A Verizon ad features a young girl named Susie who turns a simple lemonade stand into an apparently multi-million-dollar industry, all with the help of a Verizon 4G phone.
  • An HSBC ad has a kid with a lemonade stand speaking to customers of various nationalities in their native language and giving prices in local currency. Because they're "the world's local bank."

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Castle Town Dandelion, Kanade already has as much money as the national budget as a eleventh-grader, mainly through the stock market. Justified by the fact that she has a Royalty Superpower... that requires Insert Payment to Use, and she cannot always control her powers.
  • The entire Eizouken counts, as they sell their work and make plenty of profit (even though Asakusa and Mizusaki only care about the animation), but this especially applies to Kanamori, who has been finding ways to make money since she was very young.

    Asian Animation 
  • Upin & Ipin: Mail is taught by his parents to manage their food stall and shop while studying in kindergarten. The result is a boy who is good at spotting entrepreneurship opportunity and always tries to find a way to sell stuff.

     Comic Books 
  • DC Comics had The Green Team, a short-lived group of kids whose careers had made them millionaires (trillionaires in the millennium reboot).
  • The Life And Times Of Scrooge Mcduck: Scrooge was this back when he was young in his native Scotland. At first he was willing to take whatever job he could to make a buck but, after realizing that would quickly see him out, he began working "smarter, not harder."

    Comic Strips 
  • Manolito in Mafalda. Played with a fair bit more realism in that he is usually seen helping his dad run the family grocery store and is often seen interacting with the customers, managing the items and occasionally resorting to hilariously cheap tactics to try and promote the store, all with the goal of becoming a supermarket mogul as an adult.
  • Lucy from Peanuts is one of the older examples of this trope. She's been selling psychiatric advice to Charlie Brown, whether he wants it or not, since 1959.
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin is occasionally an entrepreneur selling lemonade. Sometimes it's not anything even like lemonade: in one strip he sets up a stand selling "A Swift Kick in the Butt," and he complains about business being so much worse than his own estimate of how many people need one.

  • Downplayed with 18-year-old Mirai Kobayashi (94th Hunger Games) from Tales of the Hunger Games. After exiting the arena, she follows up on her dreams and opens up a self-defence school known as "The Kobayashi Self-Defence Centre".
  • Downplayed with eighteen-year-old Crown Martins (24th Hunger Games) from Cheating Death: Those That Lived. By the time he's reaped into the Hunger Games, he runs a candy store titled "The Candy Crown" and operates a pushcart (complete with licensing) that sells candy at places such as the local training academy.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, Mei and her friends manage to raise $700 over the course of a month from selling photos, panda merchandise, and interactions with Mei's panda form to their middle school classmates.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • There's an executive boardroom scene in Hudson Hawk that includes a kid who is presumably one of these.
  • Dobbs, one of the bullies from Max Keeble's Big Move, has this as his background: he was a millionaire at twelve but lost everything in the stock market, so now he steals lunch money on the pretense he's "investing" it.
  • The Richie Rich movie has its eponymous character taking over the family corporation while his parents are missing and presumed dead (by everyone but him). He carries on with his dad's tradition of being an Honest Corporate Executive.
  • There is a charming Scottish short film from 1981 called The Dollar Bottom, which is about a boy in boarding school who sets up a business and makes a fortune insuring his peers against corporal punishment.
  • Windtalkers: Youthful Marines Pappas and Ox display hopes of achieving this once they get out of the service. Pappas hopes to start a "fleet of taxis" and Ox is hoping that he can be the person to develop strawberry yoghurt.

  • From the Ring of Fire short stories, the Barbie Consortium is founded by a group of uptime pre-teen girls, inspired by their older siblings to become investors. The group's name comes from the original source of income, selling of uptime Barbie dolls to the people of the 17th century Germany into which their town has been transported.
  • Artemis Fowl. Teenage billionaire evil genius. Learned everything he knows from his ruthless father, though as time goes by, both Fowl men are less on the evil end of the spectrum.
  • Artie in Gordan Korman's No Coins, Please comes up with entrepreneur schemes in every state the group hits. Heck, he starts a cow milking business!
  • Encyclopedia Brown: The bulk of the title character's pocket money (aside from one instance where he was able to claim a sizeable reward from a contest) comes from the detective agency he runs out of his garage. Did we mention Encyclopedia Brown is only eleven?
  • The Great Brain: Tom Fitzgerald, the titular "Great Brain," usually turns his intelligence towards schemes for making a buck. Examples include a black market candy store at a Jesuit boarding school and showing off his family's first of its kind flushing toilet. The neighborhood kids usually tolerate it because they rarely understand how he's taken advantage of them, just that he has. He is fully capable of making an honest buck though, such as when he got his hands on a makeshift raft and charged the other kids for river rides.
  • Chichikov in Dead Souls. He starts by creating a wax bird and selling it to a classmate, for the money he gets he buys food and sells it to hungry students, and so on.
  • The Story of the Treasure Seekers: The Bastable children's attempt at entrepreneurship all fail dismally, especially their attempt to make money by selling wine.
  • By the sixteenth Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note novel The Red Mask Knows, Sunahara, a seventh grader, apparently became the owner of some mobile game business.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Magnum, P.I.:
    • Subverted in one episode. Magnum is hired for security for the "vast holdings" of a teenage Cattle Baron. As it turns out it is a con, and the "vast holdings" are rather skinny. But he did do a good job of taking care of his birthright such as it was.
    • In the pilot they meet "Snow White", a beautiful Mafia Princess who controls most of the coke in Hawaii. Obviously she is not a nice Young Entrepreneur. She does have style though.
  • Danny from The Partridge Family. He's the one who got them an agent (among other things).
  • Randy from The Wire, who in one instance even continues to pass out campaign material even after getting paid.
  • Deuce Martinez from Shake it Up, who sells everything from defective watches to counterfeit Lady Gaga tickets.
  • An episode of Law & Order has a minor witness who owned a nightclub circuit where a shooting took place. A 16-year-old prep school student, he came to the interview armed with a Blackberry and a cutthroat business plan that he explained to the dubious detectives: He doesn't own a permanent property, but instead rents various locations on a night-by-night basis, paying for just enough renovations to bring them up to code as needed. By renting, he eliminates most of the overhead and down profit time of keeping his club open on unprofitable weeknights. Paid admission is handled by bouncers at the door, while drinks are served (for typically insane prices) by an automatic dispenser that eliminates spills and free drinks from bartenders, to say nothing of having to pay the bartenders themselves. All the permits, licenses, and such are handled by an older friend/business partner.
  • The UK version of The Apprentice has a Spin-Off for 16/17 year olds, who tend to range from the annoyingly precocious to the adorably ambitious to the genuinely impressive.
  • Oliver Otto from American Housewife, which is something his mother disapproves of as it puts him on the fast track to becoming as shallow and materialistic as the rest of Westport.
  • Odd Squad:
    • Polly Graph is a local vendor in town who sells lemonade in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter who is also one of Odd Squad's greatest allies, often coming to Precinct 13579's Headquarters to settle conflicts and giving them discounts on her drinks. She also has an affinity for graphs and loves to employ them in her business ventures. As shown in "Bad Lemonade", she also takes running her combined stand very seriously, treating it as though it's a legitimate business and having a fall from grace when Odd Todd forces her to close and opens up his own stand instead, which sells lemonade and pickle juice that makes people's heads turn into giant lemons and pickles.
    • In "Overdue!", Oswald gets an idea to co-run a lemonade stand with Orla in the Odd Squad Main Library in order to make enough money to pay her library fine. At first, they sell lemonade for a single cent per cup, but when they find that's too low of a price, they switch to selling bandages for paper cuts, charging $2 per bandage before lowering it to $1 when a nearby agent remarks that $2 is too expensive. It manages to get them the money they need, but at the cost of Octavius, the head librarian, finding out that they broke a library rule that one can't operate a business inside of a library.
  • Paper Girls: The titular characters work delivering papers on their bikes as young teens.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun
    • The sourcebook Runner Havens has a kid in Hong Kong who runs a very popular noodle stand known as "Noodleboy's". According to one of the hackers, the kid's also a money-launderer for one of the Hong Kong Triads.
    • During the Crash 2.0, a teenager working part-time at a Stuffer Stack fast food restaurant managed, by accident, to place a stock order for Shiawase at the exact millisecond the Crash caused the stock price to plummet for nanopennies on the dollar. By the time the Crash's aftereffects sorted themselves out, he found himself owning over 4% of one of the largest corporations on the planet. This technically makes him a millionaire on a grand scale, but also puts him way over his head as a major deciding vote between two separate factions of the family-run company, both of whom want him to support their agenda or sell his shares to him. Or else.

    Video Games 
  • Malo, the huge fore-headed kid from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess who looks like an infant, turns out to be a ruthless and savvy businessman when he takes over the shop in the Goron village and later the Castle Town shop.
  • In Tales from the Borderlands, when Sasha asks Rhys, with clear disgust, how he could ever want to work his way up the chain in a company as greedy and corrupt as Hyperion, you have the option to have him open up a little; he tells her that all he's ever wanted is to be an executive, and when he was a kid, he even made a club with his friends just as an excuse to print business cards. She makes fun of him for a little bit.
  • Recette Lemongrass of Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is forced to become this in order to settle her father's adventuring debts.
  • Sheng Kawolski in Fallout 4 is a savvy young purified water salesman in Diamond City.
  • Potentially possible in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. When you get control of Join Avenue, an NPC may ask to open a shop there. Some of the possible entrepreneurs looking to start a business include Youngsters, Lasses or even Preschoolers. So, yeah, that Market where you can buy bulks of otherwise very rare items like Max Revives and PP Up? Run by a five year old kid.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Daughter for Dessert, Amanda seems to always know what’s best for the diner from a purely business standpoint.

    Western Animation 
  • Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy tries to scam the other kids in the neighborhood so he can buy jawbreakers.
  • Fillmore!: One-Shot Character Francine Bishop has a garden full of ice sculptures that she has made over the winter and charges people $10 to tour it, with the business being a profitable one.
  • South Park: Cartman was revealed to be this in "My Future Self and Me" Later his future version appears and reveals that, once he changes his lifestyle, he will become a rather successful businessman. He refuses, and future!Cartman immediately becomes a slovenly plumber.
  • Code Lyoko: Hiroki Ishiyama, Yumi's little brother. In Season 4, he's shown selling Subdigitals tickets. He refuses to give any discounts.
  • Whatever world or society PAW Patrol takes place in, it's apparently common there for people we would consider children to live on their own and support themselves. Ryder, Katie, Carlos, Danny, and Ace all look young enough to still be in elementary school but have jobs, and some even run their own businesses.
  • Recess: The character Hustler Kid is part this part Friend in the Black Market and makes money off the other kids at recess by offering contraband candy, toys, and high dollar (for a kid) collectible cards. If there's a market for something, typically he has it in stock for an inflated price. However he has standards and will not deal in items that could get a kid in real trouble, such as counterfeit hall passes.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Phineas and Ferb often cross into this territory — although it's often more of an Informed Ability, since they don't keep the money themselves.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: In his latest appearances in the show, Snips is often seen trying to make a quick buck, most usually by selling Buckball paraphernalia, surfing on Snails' success with the sport.
  • Wait Till Your Father Gets Home: Jaime Boyle, youngest son of the main character Harry, can often be seen trying to start some new business whenever the series focuses on him, such as offering to take portraits of people using a camera he found while cleaning the attic. This is in direct contrast to his elder Brilliant, but Lazy brother Chet and Granola Girl sister Alice. While Harry is usually quite happy with this, there have been instances where Jamie has needed to be reigned back in, such as when Harry discovered he was exploiting other kids to run his lemonade stand.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: Louisa, who is four years old, is a budding entrepreneur who "drives a hard bargain," selling mud pies in exchange for stickers.

    Real Life 
  • John D. Rockefeller, the world's first billionaire, started his path to riches as a child by selling candy to the other kids in his neighborhood.