Young Entrepreneur Takes Life by the Reins:

How Jack Bonneau is making a difference in the world as a Freshman


Jack Bonneau giving a speech for the youth of today saying that they should look at other kids as their own role models at the 2018 Spring TEDxBoulder event. “There are so many kids that we can look up to. To see ourselves in their shoes. Their journey to inspire us to embark on our own journey, our own path. We can see ourselves in them because they are just like us.” Image and quote courtesy of TEDxBoulder

Isabella Hammond

When talking about America’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, what often comes to mind are people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos. All men over the age of 30. What if we had someone else to look up to? Someone more relatable? 


Jack Bonneau (9th) was just 8 years old when he decided that he wanted to buy a $400 Lego Death Star. Encouraged by his dad, he set up a lemonade stand at his local farmer’s market, and after a few weeks, he had his Death Star.


Lo and behold, Jack’s Stands and Marketplaces was born. Kids can sign up at one of the farmer’s markets where his stands are temporarily located and sell lemonade. The permits and dates are handled by the company while the kids get to handle the finances and earn a percentage of the profit. 


“I had such a great time doing that that I wanted to share my experiences with other kids,” remarks Bonneau,  “so I actually started Jack Stands, and through that, I was able to teach other[s].”


Some may remember his appearance on Shark Tank, in which Chris Sacca, a Guest Shark on episode 4 of season 7, offered him a $50,000 loan at 2% interest. All of the other Sharks pulled out largely in part of Bonneau’s age, who was only 10 years old at the time. Before then, they gave him some advice on improving his company, mainly concerning his age.


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Now at 14 years old, Bonneau is ready to tackle a new challenge: starting another business. This new venture is Teen Hustl: a delivery service operated entirely by local teens.


“I wouldn’t say I really acted on it [the advice] because mostly it was ‘You’re a kid, I’d take this slow if I were you.’” And even though the deal never ended up closing behind doors, Bonneau found value in the experience, “It taught me a lesson about perseverance and to keep moving forward, and I did.”


Jack’s Stands has since grown beyond one location and now offers multiple stands around Colorado during the summer and occasionally holiday times. Outside of operating a business and going to school, Bonneau has received a chance to speak to youth about the importance of following one’s dreams.


On top of this, Bonneau gave a speech entitled “Kids Can Be Role Models” at the TEDxBoulder event in 2018 where he encouraged kids to look towards entrepreneurs their own age for inspiration. 


“I wanted to share my story with other kids, so I went to schools and started sharing my story, and I’ve spoken to over 10,000 kids.” Bonneau adds that “If they’re passionate about that [entrepreneurship] and they have a product that they’d like to sell, I’d say just do it!”


Bonneau comments, “I remembered that there were millions of kids who used to have their own paper routes as paperboys, so I thought, ‘Well, those opportunities for kids aren’t around today. Adults have taken it over or the internet… so I wanted to reintroduce… teenagers.’”


Starting one company seems far fetched for a high schooler, let alone two. But finding something that one is passionate about and solving a problem no one has yet done can be highly valuable in the future. 


Bonneau emphasizes his fulfillment from following his own path and subverting expectations. Despite being a kid at the start of his business and still going to school, he has managed to make time for something that he takes a great about of joy from. 


“It really deepens the experience that you learn with developing social skills. These life skills will last you, you know, I feel, throughout your whole life,” Bonneau points out on becoming an entrepreneur. 


So why not? 


“Nothing’s gonna happen if you don’t do anything. The worst thing that’s gonna happen is someone’s gonna say no, and that’s just another opportunity of how you move forward from there and learn from what you did wrong.”