What to Know if You’re an Aspiring Minor Entrepreneur (Or the Parent of One)

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Every so often you hear about or read these stories about tweenaged young’ns blowing up the spot with some gadget they invented. Earlier this year, there was Mallory Kievman, the 13-year-old who created the Hiccupop, a lollipop cures hiccups. I know. The name sounds like it might cause them, but it doesn’t. It cures them. Supposedly.

Anyway, Kievman enlisted a team of MBA students to help build a company around her product.

But just going to your local business school, if you’re a kid, or the parent of an enterprising kid, isn’t necessarily as easy a cure as one of Kievman’s concoctions. There are loads of other questions you should be asking, like, “Can a minor sign a contract?,” “Can a minor get a business loan?,” or “Does a minor have to pay taxes?”

Yeah. It’s possible your kid could be asking about all this and 401(k)s before she asks you about the birds and the bees. Crazy. But one can never predict where the entrepreneurial spirit will crop up and who it will possess.

The ever-helpful SBA has a great, somewhat comprehensive post on this very topic with very thorough answers, and suggestions of where else you can venture depending on your other queries.

For now, the short answers to the previous questions: Yes but “in most states they are not considered legally competent to enter into a binding agreement,” yes if it’s from a family member and yes. Did you really think the government wouldn’t want to collect taxes from a cute widdle kid?

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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