At age 11, Jeffrey Wang asked his dad for a loan of $150. A few months later, he launched his own company.
Wang, now a computer science and business honors freshman, started the company MyWikis, which builds online platforms to host personalized wikis. Wikis are websites like Wikipedia, which compile information. His clients have included Harvard University, the Libertarian Party of the U.S. and Wingstop. Since creating the business, Wang also co-founded a summer camp called Code Horizon this year, which taught young students computer science.
Wang said he created the business and camp with one goal in mind — helping others.
“At first, I got really good at wiki administration,” Wang said. “I thought, ‘I’ve always wanted to start a business. I think I could do more than create wikis for myself — I could do it for other people.’”
Once launched, Wang said his business struggled to make money with advertisements and made no profit in the first year. This caused him to start charging a monthly subscription and his profits have only increased since then. In the last year, he said he made more than $5,000.
Regardless of success, 18-year-old Wang said some people questioned his legitimacy because of his age.
“I never really liked having my age be a factor of what I could and couldn’t do,” Wang said. “I resent the idea of someone saying I’m 11, so I can’t create a company, because that’s wrong. I hope I’ve proved that wrong.”
Wang said age has often hindered him. When he co-founded Code Horizon, he said he could not find many parents who trusted him to teach their children.
One of the other co-founders, electrical engineering freshman Sammy Shin, said the camp ended up teaching nine students.
“In the initial phases, when we all sat around at a Starbucks drinking coffee and discussing these big plans we had, we didn’t know how it would turn out,” Shin said. “During the camp, we realized how much we enjoy doing that kind of stuff.”
The other founder, computer science freshman Trevor Nguyen, said the camp was an example of Wang’s main passion — helping people.
“I am proud of the introductory computer science education we started them with,” Nguyen said. “I’m confident they’ll be able to go far with that. We wanted to give them the tools to be able to learn on their own, and we did.”