Think back to how you earned a crust at the age of 16. Babysitting? Maybe a weekend job at Maccas or the local cinema?
Well, by the same age Sydney teen Ali Kitinas has already launched two businesses, employed her own mother and is believed to be Australia’s youngest CEO. All while attending school.
After starting a social media marketing agency at the age of 11, the young entrepreneur is now focused on her new venture, Freedom Scrub.
The innovative two-year-old company produces an ethical body scrub made from recycled coffee grounds, with a portion of proceeds going toward impoverished children in Kolkata.
“I’m very passionate about social enterprises, and having a social impact through business,” the 16-year-old told Mamamia.
Having started her first business, a social media marketing agency at age 11, Ali credits her entrepreneurial interests to the influence of many strong women in her life.
"I'm a very passionate performer, but I always knew that it would be really hard to gain financial security in that field," she said. "That's why I went into business, so that I could have the financial security to pursue my other passions."
"I also saw how my mum had a really bad corporate experience, and I knew I wanted to be my own boss."
So excited to be featured in this months @girlpowermag with @sabrinacarpenter on the cover talking about my organisation @87centsproject my work with @moelocoflipflop and my trip to India last year! Can't believe I used to be so inspired by the young girls in this magazine and now I get the chance to inspire others I am so happy to be bringing awareness to the girls of Kolkata that I feel so fortunate to have in my life and to be able to be the voice for them love this photo by @gcimagery ・・・ This #GratiTuesday we're shining a spotlight on @alikitinas and the inspiring work she is doing! ???????? Learn more about her story in our latest issue, out now! #girlpowermag #gratituesday #givingback #inspiringteens
With help from mentors such as Lisa Messenger and Richard Branson, to name a few, Ali is forging a career path as an entrepreneur that allows her to give back.
"Having such strong women in business as role models helped, and helps to let young girls know there are other options for them," she said.
Kids these days don’t want to be fireman or nurses... Post continues below.
So how does this 16-year-old manage to run multiple businesses, get her homework done and maintain some semblance of teenage normalcy?
"I get up at 6am everyday and check emails, as I have some international relationships I need to look after," she said.
"From there, I get ready for school... I've gotten really good at getting all of my class work and making a start on my homework during class time so that at recess and lunch, I can work on my business.
"In the afternoons, I get a good solid chunk of time to work on the business, which leaves my nights free to relax or go out and do normal teenage things."
For Ali, her age has never been a challenge, more so for others who struggle to take her seriously.
"I've never seen it as an issue, but there have been times when I've walked into a room, or when I went to Necker Island to meet Richard Branson, when people assume things because I'm so young," she told Mamamia.
"People wonder, 'how did you get this opportunity when I'm older than you?' but this is why I'm really excited to do the Vinnie's CEO Sleepout because it shows there's a younger demographic of us who need attention and are doing greet things and giving back."
With plans to expand her Freedom scrub nationally in the near future, Ali is looking at how she can further her impact through entrepreneurship.
"I'm inspired by Ali every day," Lynne said.
"She's empowering young women, and that makes me incredibly proud."