There’s not a single rule in the world of business that says you have to be a certain age in order to start your own company or startup–and if there is one, then that needs to be ripped out of the rule book and abolished from the minds of human civilization. Those starting a business or have an idea that can drastically change the world are the backbone to the creation of our economy, not to mention our society. Take a look at the ages of folks like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and many other successes. All started at a young age. Some probably prospered more than others because of the support system that they had.
In order to help foster the innovations, aspirations, hopes and dreams of future entrepreneurs, Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, and well-known investor, decided he wanted to give something back and help the young people find their way so he started a program called the Thiel Fellowship where he would select 20 of the most brillant minds he could find, all under the age of 20, and give them a generous seed round to help fund their ambitions for the next two years. When you get down to the deeper meaning, it’s actually a means to back Mr. Thiel’s belief that entrepreneurs can be quite successful if they skip their post-secondary education. But why would someone be so bold as to abandon continuing their education? Well it could be for a variety of reason (too many for this post), but for Mr. Thiel, it’s because he says that the system is broken–the cost is not worth the benefit (you can read the industry’s reaction here). So rather than just complaining about the antiquated education system, he chose 20 high school students and gave them each $100,000 and started his Thiel Fellowship.