Starting your own business and becoming a member of a Chamber of Commerce are no small feats. Now imagine achieving such accomplishments in elementary school! That's what this young entrepreneur did when he turned his favorite treat into a profit. 




“Does anybody want an ice cream?” yells Beau Shell, perched on top of his ice cream cart, legs kicking over the side. Most nine-year-old kids run after the ice cream man. But in Shells case, he is the ice cream man. His business "Lil’ Ice Cream Dude", sells novelty ice cream to large groups and company events.

It's a stand out name for a stand out kid. “My mom started calling me little ice cream dude because Im small and Im cool,” says Shell.

But this cool lil dude's reason for starting a business goes deeper than a kid's love for ice cream. “I wanted to support my family and missionary and help with my brothers college,” he explains. 

Beau’s mother, Vickie Shell, says it all started when he begged for an ice cream cart for his eighth birthday. "When we saw he was serious about it, we did some research to figure out how to help him,” she says. 

After teaching marketing for 12 years, Mrs. Shell saw that this could be a valuable learning experience. She says at a young age he was able to grasp the same concepts as the high school students she taught. 

In Business, Age is Only a Number

Integrating business concepts at a young age makes Shell part of a national trend with kids in business.



Young Entrepreneur Beau Shell

“Some of the core business courses traditionally offered in high school are being removed, such as keyboarding, and are now being offered in lower-school levels,” says Jean Buckley, CEO of the Future Business Leaders of America. “Entrepreneurship is a hot topic at all levels of the K-12 curriculum,” she adds.

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) say their newest division--the middle school division--is their fastest growing with nearly 21,000 members.

Buckley says technology provides young students with more exposure to business, referencing that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts by the year 2030, the “hyper-connected, tech savvy millennial generation” will make up 75 percent of the workforce.        

“In recent years, we have seen the emergence of rockstar entrepreneurs," says Cole Simmons, National President of the FBLA and high school senior. "Theyre billionaires and theyre barely 30. So I think thats gotten kids a lot more excited about entrepreneurship.” 

Reaching an Ice Cream Dream                       

And Shell is an example of this. Last year, he became the youngest member in the 110 year history of the Chamber of Commerce



Beau Shell

“The Chamber of Commerce is all about entrepreneurial spirit, about making something out of nothing, and he was a great example,” boasts Doc Eldridge, President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce. “Im sure his mother and his father thought this was like a lemonade stand in the summer, and its turned into a legitimate business.”

So far, Shell has worked about 30 events and those events have had as many as 300 people.He travels with his cart to camps, parties and charity events. His favorite venture was selling ice cream at the Atlanta Falcons Training Camp. But now Shell has his eye on something bigger.

The Popsicle Project

Shell is running a crowd funding campaign to raise money to convert a trailer to travel to larger events. The Popsicle Project, as he calls it, allows those interested to donate money towards his goal. Greg Shumate, CEO of Brand Mortgage, says they will give him a loan for whatever money he does not make.  

Shumate met Shell when he booked him for a company event and quickly took a greater interest

“I grew up and went to work early myself, had to pay for my own college tuition etc, so Ive got a special place in my heart when I see kids that go out working hard. And so it just kind of hit a chord with me,” says Shumate.

According to Eldridge, Shell seems to have that effect on a lot of people. “He’s a little kid selling ice cream," he laughs. “Who can be against that?”

But Shell is keeping his options open, explaining that he wants to be a basketball player or a football player or... a rich entrepreneur. Shell concludes with some sage advice for other young people that want to start their own business, “Follow your dreams. And ask your parents."
 

About the Author



Karli Barnett


Karli Barnett is a Coca-Cola Journey student contributor from the University of Georgia, where she studies Digital & Broadcast Journalism, Communication Studies and Spanish. Barnett grew up acting in theater before eventually moving into film and television. Now Barnett hopes to transition the storytelling aspect of acting into a journalism career.