Can you imagine if the cool kids at school were able to turn being cool into a business? That’s what Jenk Oz, CEO of the digital lifestyle hub iCoolKid has managed to do. He has taken a ‘Show & Tell’ idea (Yes, ‘Show & Tell’) and turned it into a growing business.
Jenk proves that it doesn’t matter how old you are, if you’ve got a great idea you should follow it through.
Not many kids would see the business potential in a class assembly. But at the tender age of 8, Jenk Oz saw the potential. “I was always out and about trying new hobbies or going to see a cool performance/show. When I next saw my friends they would want to hear all about my adventures, so I thought it would be great idea to share all the interesting things I was doing.” His idea to share all his adventures started off as an email round robin he sent around school. But he quickly saw the potential for a business.
Soon Jenk was being approached by his peers, keen to share their ideas. Even teachers were getting involved, sharing their best tips. Being able to test out his ideas with his target audience was an opportunity most entrepreneurs would kill for. Jenk recognises he was very lucky to get the platform he did. “School has always been supportive, encouraging and there for me at every turn.”
With the support of his mum and dad Jenk was able to take the next steps to turn his idea into a reality. Recognising the gap in the market and how much kids love information and technology, Jenk got to work creating a multi-channel digital lifestyle hub. In 2016 he launched the iCoolKid website.
Having supportive parents who encouraged him has made all the difference. Jenk recommends other parents support their children’s creativity. “We just need a bit of help and encouragement to follow our dreams and shape our initial thoughts.” Being able to share his ideas without having to be worried that they would be labelled silly has helped Jenk realise his goal at such a young age.
Parents may be worried that encouraging their kids to chase their dreams at such a young age means school taking a hit. Jenk admits that life is a bit of a juggling act, but school is his key priority.
Still there aren’t many kids who take business calls at lunch. Or who spend their free time sitting in on editorial meetings, listening to pitches and approving copy. “My life is definitely hectic, juggling school, all my extra-curricular activities, and iCoolKid. But I’m committed to making everything work. I thrive on being busy.” It’s easy to see how Jenk has managed to achieve so much so young.
But when all is said and done Jenk is still an 11-year-old kid, albeit a cool kid, who enjoys movies with his family, hanging out with friends and DJ-ing.
Jenk takes his inspiration from the tech holy trinity of Zuckerberg, Musk and Spiegel. The young entrepreneurs have clearly inspired the young CEO to start early on and follow his dreams.
His mum, Greco, is also a great motivator in his life. “She always says ‘You rarely achieve more than your dreams, so dream big.'” Jenk recognises that Generation Z has a lot more information at their fingertips. “There are so many great ideas as a result.” Which is why it’s important for parents to give their children a forum where they feel safe sharing.
Jenk’s advice to like minded kids: Trust your instincts, ask for help and do your homework (both literally and figuratively).
Age doesn’t matter as much as believing in your idea. “Speak with conviction and people will listen.” he says. You may need help along the way, but having that perspective may be just what you need. Jenk is fully aware that success require hard work and research. “It’s vital that you carry out as much research as possible.”
His own hard work and dedication has really paid off and Jenk is luck enough to be able to say at the age of 11 that he has managed to follow his dream to fruition. “iCoolKid.com is currently the largest website of its kind – it’s something I’m really proud of!”