On the up Hunter Ruthven · 21 March 2017
Meet Britain’s youngest CEO 11 year-oldjenk Oz
As the nation’s youngest CEO and brains behind iCoolKid, Jenk Oz has some worthwhile advice for fellow young entrepreneurs on running a growing business. The company was set up by Oz after he decided there needed to be a way for he and other kids to share the interesting and exciting activities theyd taken part in. From presenting the concept at a school show and tell three years ago, Oz built it into a newsletter and then a fully-functioning company with a YouTube channel, SoundCloud offering and an upcoming clothing line. He’s also managed to bag interviews with well known actors, ‘singers and TV personalities including Idris Elba, Gemma Arterton and James Cordon. We wanted to find out how the UK’s youngest CEO had progressed so quickly with his business ambitions. Why do you think iCoolKid has been popular? It used to be the case that older teenagers were the go to? cool kids for all things tech and things like that but now all young people can get informed super quickly, even two year-olds are using iPads. Like me, the iCoolKid audience knows how they want to spend their birthday and allowance money, and we are the ones older relatives will go to when they want to buy something. As were always online, we have more confidence offering our opinion because we have access to more information and can build up product knowledge very quickly. How do you balance being the UK’s youngest CEO with going to school? I am really busy and sometimes it can be difficult, but they feed each other in a positive way. Everything I learn at school goes straight back into making iCoolKid better, not just in terms of writing skills, but I also get lots of great ideas from all my teachers and my classmates. They love to share what they are doing and what they like or don’t like on the site. My school was also very kind and unblocked iCoolKid so now everyone can go on the site at lunch time to read the articles and then share their feedback. What is it like being in business with your mum? My mum and I are super close, and she spends lots of time helping me make my wild and crazy dreams come true. So far everything has been really fun and I have learned so much from both my parents, especially about setting up a business. I call my mum at lunch time most days to chat through new stories, to tell her any new ideas Ive had, and to talk to the team about what my peers have been talking about that day. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome with your business? Getting the word out to young people everywhere. Social media helps but you need to think out of the box to reach people in more remote places. You can build the best website in the world but if no one knows about it, you will struggle to keep it going. I really hope we can reach out to kids all over the world with our content and make them feel a part of iCoolKid. How have you managed to get interviews with such big celebrities? Each interview comes about in a different way and sometimes you have to be quite creative in the moment, as you may only get a split-second chance to approach someone. As long as you are really polite, and realise that the worst that can happen is that they will say no to you, then there is no downside. Once, I had a split second to meet Adele in a restaurant, my dad ran over with me and she agreed to chat, so we filmed it. However, when we went to check the camera afterwards, nothing had recorded, not even one frame. I guess sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but at least I have a cool story to tell.
ABOUT THE EXPERTHunter Ruthven
Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.