BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) - A teenage entrepreneur who started his first business at the age of 10 is competing in Denver Startup Week four years later, with a new business. Jack Bonneau has already appeared on the TV show "Shark Tank" but says getting more feedback from experts help him grow as a young business leader.
"I just love the opportunity to be able to pitch and present my business and get valuable feedback," he told CBS4 on Tuesday. "Just do it because nothing would have happened with me if I didn't start with my lemonade stand and put it at my local farmer's market."
Bonneau first launched Jack's Stands and Marketplace to sell lemonade with other children his age and help them learn about entrepreneurship. The endeavor got him on the national stage where adults pitch their ideas to "sharks" on TV to invest in their business. He launched another business to help deliver food, popular household products, and Amazon packages using a scooter or bicycle. Since the pandemic, the concept has become even more popular.
"We're able to do completely contactless delivery that is safe for the customer and they can stay at home and have their items delivered to them." Bonneau explained from his home. "My whole business started when I wanted a business that would appeal more to teenagers and I knew that decades ago teens had their own paper routes, their own businesses, but those opportunities just don't' exist for teens today."
Teen Hustl has half a dozen employees who get paid minimum wage to make deliveries. The team travels a small radius from their homes keeping all rides local. Their relationship with customers make the process much more friendly and helps the environment, Bonneau explained. Timed delivery selected by the customer ensures the teen arrives when they are home and the concern of a porch pirate stealing the item is eliminated.
"We employ all of our Teen Huslt-ers and we're able to control the customer experience in a way that these larger delivery services just can't," he said. "I believe that one of our main competitive advantages is that customers would much rather order from a local neighborhood teen than a random delivery person."
His family garage has become a makeshift Amazon locker as it holds packages before his team delivers each item to its final destination. Well-stocked shelves of essential items like hand wipes and soap go fast every few weeks. Bonneau says he travels to different stores as they open to buy all the items his customers want and have each stocked at all times.
"Doing everything virtually is definitely something that I've never experienced before, it's definitely different before but it's also kind of convenient," he said.
This 14-year-old is still a full-time student but uses a lot of his free time to work on his business. He will find out if he advances to the finals as the only teen out of 18 in the competition at Denver Startup Week on Wednesday. Junior Achievement and Young Americans Bank chose Bonneau out of four young entrepreneurs to compete in the weeklong event that ends with a grand prize of $100,000.
Team Hustl plans to expand to Westminster and Louisville by the end of September. Bonneau says he hopes his company can deliver to and from every Amazon locker in the metro area by the holiday season.
"Put yourself through everything you can, as many opportunities as you can, because you never know what will come of those."
for more features.