Small Business Success Story: TerraCycle Recycling & Upcycling

http://careerfuel.net/?p=5786

George Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” If you met Tom Szaky you might disagree. At fourteen, Tom was making a five-figure salary as a web designer. By age twenty, Tom dropped out of Princeton to start TerraCycle and has successfully built a $15 million business over the last decade. His story of “upcycling” people’s trash and turning it into viable products has been covered by CNN, The New York Times, “20/20”, the “Today” show and many more.

CareerFuel had the opportunity to hear firsthand how Tom achieved this success and to get his advice for would-be startups. Tom strongly recommends business plan competitions to raise initial capital, followed by angel investment. He also has some choice words about venture capitalists. Tom encourages entrepreneurs to listen to what the naysayers and the markets say and be prepared to pivot, as flexibility is key to steering your startup to success.

A couple of years before Tom stared TerraCycle, another young guy named Peter Thiel founded PayPal with several others and went on to become extremely successful. Thiel has since founded a fellowship program for kids just like Tom, paying budding entrepreneurs to skip college and pursue an idea. Recipients of the Thiel Fellowship receive $100,000, no strings attached. Tom Szaky would have been a no-brainer had this program been around a decade ago!

Thank you Tom and the rest of the TerraCycle team for sharing your story as part of our “How America Works” series and for inspiring others to do great things!

This is another segment in CareerFuel’s “How America Works” series, a collection of job search and small business success stories. Do you have a small business success story? If so, we would love to hear about it! http://bit.ly/PuXUB3

Video Production by Mayer Dubinsky Videography
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About CareerFuel:
Finding a job and starting a business just got a whole lot easier! CareerFuel offers “one-stop shopping” for the information you need to secure a new job or start your own business. Our goal is to become “America’s Mentor”, providing you with regularly updated employment-related news, blogs, videos and success stories. CareerFuel’s original and aggregated content provides you with the information and inspiration you need to get you where you want to be. By working with you to achieve your career goals, together we can strengthen our families, communities and country. http://bit.ly/yKgRHe

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