Lessons in Determination from a Teenage Entrepreneur

Most kids in their early teens are busy figuring things out, dabbling in extracurriculars, hanging out with friends and spending time playing the newest games on their smartphones.

Brooke Yoakam did all of that, too, but along the way, she also figured out a way to disrupt an industry and change the way other teens spend their money. She created a mobile app to manage all of the gift cards accumulating inside their wallets.

Brooke is not your average teenager.

At the age of 15, Brooke Yoakam of Columbus has already checked off a few more boxes than many of us ever will. Inspired by her parents who are both entrepreneurs, she founded her own software company, GiftPocket, at the age of 12. She’s spoken in front of large crowds, including thousands of people at G.I.R.L. 2017, the biggest event for girls and young women in the world. She’s even given a TEDx talk on the subject of risk titled, “Challenges of Being a Teen Entrepreneur.”

At 12-years-old, Brooke was the youngest graduate of the Customer Learning Lab in Columbus. She gained traction through the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy at Rochester Institute of Technology. She was ultimately noticed by Rev1 Ventures, where she challenged, refined and strengthened her idea through the Concept Academy and with ongoing mentorship.

Brooke and her team developed their technology with the assistance of Rev1, a central Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. They have helped Brooke, as she says, “figure out if the world really needs another gift card app.”

Time will determine the fate of Brooke’s first startup, but early signs indicate definite market interest. One thing we know for sure is the world could use more fearless go-getters like 15-year-old Brooke Yoakam.

About GiftPocket:

GiftPocket is a gift card shopping app that allows teens to seamlessly manage their form of currency (gift cards), stay connected to friends and navigate the process of learning how to manage their money. The app also allows users to exchange gift cards they don’t want in exchange for credit towards brands they love using the app’s unique feature, GP Pocket Points.


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