Ben Cloud is a 16-year-old junior at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He is also a successful business owner and an inspiration to other young people in his community and beyond.
Ben’s story is one of creativity, perseverance, and proactivity. Let’s explore how this young man took an idea and his own small savings to start a successful and growing coffee business!
Brewing Up A New Business
During his sophomore year, Ben took a few business classes. They got his head spinning with ideas to start his own business. He wanted to do something about it!
He started by thinking about things he liked. First, it was clothing. Then coffee. He thought about opening up a coffee shop. But both ideas seemed too hard and costly.
Some might give up right there and keep going about their regular life. But Ben is different. He kept thinking and came up with the idea of selling his own brand of coffee. He felt like there was potential to do this without too much money or risk. He persevered.
So he took to the Internet and started doing research. He eventually found a coffee bean supplier. He learned about all of the legalities of starting a business. It all seemed daunting but he continued to persevere.
After setting up his business and starting to order coffee he began testing different versions with his friends and family. He got feedback and refined his product. He appropriately named his company Clouds Coffee Company.
He had a little bit of savings from his birthdays and odd jobs over the years and didn’t want to borrow money to start his business. So, he bartered with a designer to help him with his naming, logo, product pictures, photography, and website design. He would supply them with coffee in exchange for their design talent!
After launching his website, Ben started to sell his coffee at his local high school coffee shop. Then a restaurant. Then local shops. And Ben also made a decision early on to donate a portion of his proceeds to benefit others…specifically the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.
Ben received great support from his mentor, Clyde Rucker, a very successful businessman and best friend of his grandparents. Many others in the community-supported Ben in his earliest days…trying to help him succeed at such a young age. They were inspired by his initiative and energy. And his good coffee!
Growing His Business and Growing Others
Ben is now working on expanding sales of his coffee to grocery stores and more outlets in his local community. He does have plans to expand
nationally as well. In fact, his 14-year-old brother Andrew is now his head of sales!
And now Ben is helping to educate other kids and inspire them as to how they might start their own business. Ben has been sharing his story and learnings with local middle school and high school students. His advice: “never let your age stand in the way of what you want to do.”
Ben says “you can make a business out of anything! It’s more about finding your passion.”
A key to his success has been setting goals, putting together a schedule, reading business books, and setting up reflection time. His own growing faith has also helped sustain him over the course of his business adventure.
Looking to the future, beyond his business he is considering college in a way that will allow him to continue with his business but also gain from a college experience and learning.
Ben Cloud is a fantastic example of a young person striving to become the best version of himself. He took his inspiration and passion and persevered through many challenges to create something that is not only benefiting himself but his community and other teenagers.
Ben’s creativity, initiative, and grit are a great model for others. Check out this video about Ben Cloud’s journey and then see below for ideas to help pursue your own entrepreneurial dreams!
- Here are other great InspireMyKids stories about inventors and kid entrepreneurs
- Check out the Clouds Coffee Company website
Topics for Discussion:
- What character traits did Ben Cloud exhibit in starting his business?
- How does Ben Cloud use his strengths and overcome his fears?
- How can a business make the world a better place? Can you name some that have?
- Do you have any ideas for a business that you would like to start? Would it make people’s lives or make the world better?
- Find a Camp Invention or Club Invention in your area to have fun, learn about inventing and make your own inventions!
- Get inspired by the many great kids inventions at Inventnow.org and learn how to make your idea a reality
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.