I had heard of Catherine Cook before, but seeing her recently on "Inside Edition" reminded me that there are truly forward-thinking youngsters in the world.
If you’re not familiar with her, she and her brother founded MyYearbook.com, a social-networking site that allows users to connect with and meet each other online. Its games and other features make it similar to Facebook, but its concept is modeled after the high school yearbook.
Catherine came up with the idea when she was 15. She is now 22, a college graduate and a multimillionaire. She and her brothers sold the company for -- I'm assuming the voice of "Austin Powers' " Dr. Evil -- $100 million.
That’s right. These kids, who came up with an idea when they were even younger kids, sold a company for 100 million dollars.
They didn’t set out to be millionaires or to come up with a website that a larger entity would one day buy. As do most successful entrepreneurs, they created a product to fill a void in their lives. In this case, they wanted to be able to meet people and make new friends.
I know a young lady named Amber Liggett who started her own company, Amber’s Amazing Animal Balloons in Beaver County. She taught herself how to make her balloon creations, and she's had her own business since she was 9 years old. That earned her an appearance on the cover of the southwestern Pennsylvania edition of Women’s Yellow Pages, a directory of businesses in which women are the majority owners. Now 15, Liggett continues to grow her business.
Their youthful successes got me thinking. We are living in a very shaky economy. The cost of education seems to increase with each passing day. I don’t know what Social Security will look like when I reach retirement age, never mind them.
Should we be encouraging a more entrepreneurial spirit in our children, or should we just cross our fingers and hope they stumble onto a million-dollar idea?