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When 10-year-old Ryder Matz received a gumball machine for his birthday, he decided to start a business! Ryder’s Traveling Gumball Machines spend time visiting shops and restaurants in the Lafayette, Louisville, and Boulder area, adventuring to a new spot every month or two.
Ryder did a Summer Camp at Young Americans Center for Financial Education that he loved, encouraging him to apply for the annual Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition. He went on to win the top prize in his age category–$1,000 plus a mentor to help him make his business even better!
Learn more about Ryder below and watch his segment on Colorado & Company.
Question: Tell me a little bit about you — name, age, how long you’ve been an entrepreneur?
Answer: Hi, I am Ryder Matz, and I am 10 years old. I have been an entrepreneur for 3 years, I started my gumball business – Ryder’s Traveling Gumball Machine – when I was about 7 years old.
Q: Do you have a website? If so, let us know what it is.
A: No, I do not have a website, but I have a Facebook Page that my mom helps me manage. The page name is “Ryder’s Traveling Gumball Machine” and the address is @rydersgumballs. You should check it out!
Q: What motivated or inspired you to start a business?
A: I have always been fascinated by vending machines, and how they work. I really wanted one, but my parents said they were too expensive. So for my birthday one year, my mom got me my first gumball machine as a way to start. At first, it was kind of just for fun. But I’ve always been really motivated by business, and so I started selling my gumballs. My goal is to one day have my own vending machine.
Q: Please share an overview about your business.
A: I have a few gumball machines that I place around to various businesses in my community. Each gumball costs 25¢. And then 20% of the profilt the machine makes goes to charity of that business’ choice. My gumball machines have been hosted at restaurants, yogurt shops, music studios, and more. I have already sold over 3000 gumballs in my community, and have donated over $300 to charities, including Dog Rescues, Schools, Meals on Wheels, and others. It’s fun to see my gumball machines around town, and it feels good to give back.
Q: Tell us about some of the challenges you face being a young business owner.
A: It is really fun being a young business owner, but there are also times it is hard. The biggest challenge for me is finding places to host my gumball machine… there are often coporate rules about having it, or sometimes it is hard to be taken seriously as a kid. It is also really tough to roll up all the quarters in those small envelopes to deposit at the bank!
Q: Why should other youth start a business?
A: Others kids should start a business because it teaches them really good lessons about life and the real world. It also helps them understand what it means to have a business career. It teaches them about responsibility, economics, money management, time management and relationship building. Plus it is a really fun way to be a part of the community!
Q: What’s the best part about having your own business?
A: The best part of having my own business is being my own boss! I really like being able to make my own decisions, and I feel very successful and proud. I really like coming up with new ideas, and it’s great to be able to give back to others.
Q: So, you were a Winner in the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition–congratulations! What motivated you to apply for the competition, and what did you gain from the experience?
A: I was really excited when I learned about the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars business competition. I had my gumball business for a few years, and it seemed like a great way to advertise my business and connect with other young entreprenuers. From the experience, I gained customers, money to invest in my business, an awesome community mentor, and lots of new friends.
Q: Please share about your involvement with Young Americans.
A: I had a teacher in my 1st grade classroom do an informal AmeriTowne program a few years ago, and I loved it. I was even voted the Mayor! I had so much fun, that I than participated in the Young Americans’ AmeriTowne Summer Camp. From there, I learned about the YouthBiz Stars competition, and now here I am!