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Old Investors, Young Entrepreneurs

Tori Molnar, the 14-year-old CEO and founder of for-profit Utoria and the nonprofit She Can Make Change, believes she is a good bet. She is preparing to launch a crowd-funding initiative for up to $10,000 on IndieGoGo .

"I'm committed. I already have this amazing company behind me. It's not like I am going into the business realm completely blind. I've also grown up in an entrepreneurial family which has given me the basic knowledge, and I can only grow from here," Molnar says.

Utoria launched Oct. 1. The company is a direct-sales company for 14- to 19-year-old girls selling everything from accessories to books to electronics. Molnar, who turns 15 in December, says she purposely made the product line large so "every girl would be interested in it," she says.

The products are sold by peers to their peers. Utoria encourages teamwork among reps as well as using social media to promote their business. Molnar says a second objective is to help teenage girls build confidence.

Molnar is also proud to say that it is the first direct-sales company to promote other small businesses as vendors. "We work with the company and the manufacturers to develop a six-month plan on how we are going to sell their product," she says.

But she certainly has plans for expansion, such as working with larger brands that were also started in the entrepreneurial spirit, including the sunglasses manufacturer Oakley, she says.

"We're looking to partner with these kinds of companies and develop products that are exclusive to Utoria because we got started by promoting small businesses. We didn't have the funds to private-label our own products. We searched out smaller companies we knew would want to partner with us. We realized that was our niche and we don't want to private-label. We want to keep going with promotion of the small businesses," she says.

While not all young entrepreneurs are as serious about their endeavors to attract investment capital, there are others that shouldn't be discounted just because of their age. The general assumption is that older workers make for better business owners because they already have practical experience. But youth lacks as many commitments as their older counterparts -- meaning if they are serious about an idea they can devote a significant amount of time to it.
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