Meet 3 Young Entrepreneurs Who Put Wall Street to Shame

Three self-starting teens have found ways to make their dreams come true and achieve CEO status before they’ve even set foot in a college classroom.

Chase Reed; Maya Penn; Warren Cassell Jr.
Chase Reed; Maya Penn; Warren Cassell Jr. Taryn Finley/The Root; Courtesy of Maya Penn; Courtesy of Warren Cassell Jr.

Summer plans for teens normally involve spending days at amusement parks, binging on video games or the occasional part-time job to earn a little cash. But normal isn’t an option for three teens this summer. These teens have business to handle. Real business.

Having the creativity and a determination that stretches beyond lemonade-stand ideas, these teens are creating their own innovative and impactful companies. Chase Reed, Maya Penn and Warren Cassell Jr. have turned their visions into reality, and they are all under age 17.

Take a look at their credentials.

Chase Reed

Title: Founder of Sneaker Pawn USA
Age: 16
Location: Harlem

Résumé: Chase’s passion for high-end sneakers runs as deep as his drive. Learning a lot from his father, video documentarian Troy Reed, the young entrepreneur turned his love for fashion and footwear into the world’s first sneaker pawn shop. Prior to opening his business, he began reselling sneakers from his arsenal of more than 300 pairs of shoes. He even refurbished and redesigned shoes to make them look new.

“Sometimes it would be a time when I didn’t have enough money to buy sneakers or go out, so I would have to give my father a pair of my sneakers just so I could have money,” Chase said. Giving his shoes to his father until he could repay the money gave him the idea that others would be willing to do the same for their coveted Air Jordans or a fresh pair of LeBrons. He carefully went through his prized collection and invested about $30,000 worth of kicks to create his dream. The shop sells new sneakers, shoes that Chase designed himself and matching hats and key chains to complement certain sneakers.

Starting this business wasn’t easy for Chase. The self-proclaimed “sneakerhead” has sacrificed hanging out with his friends and many pairs of shoes already. He believes the tradeoff is worth it, however, especially with the relationship he builds with his clientele (which has already become international since the store’s inception). “What’s more fun than having your own business, seeing sneakers you’ve never seen before and interacting with people?”

Future goals: “Finish high school, graduate from college, franchise the store and start a clothing line.”