In a fast-changing world, our youth face an uncertain future. School can only prepare them for so much, and today, young people are adding valuable real-world skills through their side interests. Some are even making money doing it.

Between soccer practice and driving lessons, many teens also run successful businesses. They’re saving up for sneakers and college tuition. Others are even using their superpowers to make an impact on the world. Whatever their motivations, these young people are—sometimes unwittingly—also building foundations for their futures.

This article guides young people, their parents, and their teachers through the benefits of youth entrepreneurship, ways to get started, and a range of ideal business ideas for teens.

Why start a youth-run business?

Whatever your current plans for after you graduate—college, gap year, jumping straight into a job—remember that you’re young and can always change course. You have the most valuable resource at this stage of your life: time. It’s important to try on a few futures to see which fits best.

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Starting your own small business while you’re still in school lets you shorten the distance between theory (school books) and practice (hands-on skill building). It might also help guide your post-graduation decision—maybe your small business is worth pursuing full-time, or you might discover that entrepreneurship really isn’t for you after all.

A small business under your belt showcases leadership skills and initiative in a way a report card can’t.

If you’re applying to college, your desired school may consider your extra-curricular activities in addition to your grades. A small business under your belt showcases leadership skills and initiative, and colleges are looking for well-rounded applicants with…

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