Q : Who are you?
I am Penny Schiffer.
Q : What do you currently do?
Head of startup Initiatives at Swisscom
Q : How old were you when you started to be an Enterprising Teenager?
8 years – So I would consider myself a pre-teenage entrepreneur ;-).
Q : What were you doing as an Enterprising Teenager?
When I was 8 years old, I started a tomato plant business for the summer: I wanted to sell more than just the usual knick knacks and toys on the annual flee market and was looking for opportunities to “make” things that I could sell. So I did the maths on growing tomato plants – sounded like a good idea: I bought a packet of tomato seeds for 1,50 DM, got 400 left over plastic pots for free and used my parents’ soil from the garden. The going rate for tomato plants on the Saturday market was 3,50 DM, so my offer at 0,50 per plant was selling like crazy! I made 198,50 DM profit with an investment of only 1,50 DM and a lot of time to grow and water the tomato plants. Plus, I spent a weekend selling the goods. I was so proud!
Later on, I seized opportunities for buying and selling stuff, e.g. I bought jewelry in Indonesia which I sold in the street and I sold electronic parts from my father´s hobby activities. He was surprised when I managed to get more money out of his old stuff than he had ever thought possible, so he wanted to have a higher cut from what I had earned!
Q : Who helped you the most when you were a teenager, and what did they do for you?
If I remember correctly, my best help was that my parents just didn’t interfere. I do not remember any strong mentors or people who supported my entrepreneurial activities. However, with my parents and both my grandparents building businesses from scratch I may have felt a natural attraction to entrepreneurial endeavors.
Q : What advice would you give to a teenager who wants to start a small business activity?
Just do it!
Q : What is the biggest regret you have from when you were a teenager?
I sometimes wonder about what opportunities my 8 year old self would have realized if the internet had been a thing in those days already. I had to rely on face-to-face analog interactions for my pre-teen businesses, so the scale was naturally limited.
Q : How can we follow you on social media?
Here is the info to follow Penny :