Ninth-grader Jordan Zietz is the young CEO of GameReef, a rental company specializing in video games and gaming consoles. He started the business to provide a solution for those torn between Xbox or PlayStation, Wii or DS, Fallout 4 or NHL . . . you get the idea. “People have been torn for years . . . now, you can have both!” Jordan says.
Jordan started GameReef through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) chapter supported by the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. He won both the local Investor Panel competition and the YEA! Southwest Regional competition. Jordan was also awarded third place Saunders Scholars Competition in 2015, where he pitched GameReef to a panel of judges at America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, DC. Jordan is busy between nationwide competitions and regular school activities, but we were able to catch up with him on GameReef’s past, present, and future.
How old were you when you started designing your company GameReef?
When I first came up with the idea for GameReef I was thirteen years old, and had just begun the YEA! Program in 7th grade.
What gave you the idea to create GameReef and turn it into a business?
I first came up with the idea for GameReef when I realized that allowance money simply wasn’t enough to be able to try all the newest games and consoles. Once I figured out I was not the only one with this problem, I knew I had to find a way to solve this issue for the gaming community. Thus, GameReef was born, offering an affordable way to try out all the newest games and consoles.
What has been your biggest challenge in getting started and how have you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge in getting started was building the website, as it requires several unique codes for recurring payments and the other back-end requirements. We were able to finally find a solid design for the website by testing out multiple versions and determining which would be most efficient in doing its job.
How do you find time to balance school and work?
While balancing school and work isn’t easy, it can be done. Obviously it requires time-management, and to an extent, it takes determination. Sometimes to get stuff done, I have to be determined enough to finish it that going to sleep early isn’t in the picture, and neither is going out with friends.
What problem does GameReef solve for the industry?
GameReef solves a simple dilemma plaguing gamers across the nation—which consoles/games should I get next? Rather than blowing cash to buy a few games and maybe a console, with GameReef, you can try out a massive variety for a more affordable price: something that the gaming community values.
Have your parents helped you with your business? What have they taught you?
Rather than directly, the way my parents help my business grow is simply by lessons learned. While they don’t specifically help in the management of the business, as a family we talk about our businesses and our experiences, and we learn from each other, which is really something unique.
What are your plans for the future? Will you keep building GameReef and creating new products?
For the future, I intend on building GameReef and hopefully expanding the service to become something that can truly empower gamers across the entire nation, and maybe more.
What advice would you give young Kidpreneurs who want to start their own business like you did?
The advice I would give to young Kidpreneurs is to find a passion of theirs, and to solve a problem relating to it. For me, this was video games, and how expensive variety was, but for others, it could be something completely different. Odds are if you have a problem, others likely have that same problem as well, so find a way to solve it.
What do you think about the Kidpreneurs concept for teaching kids the basic principles of Entrepreneurship at a young age?
I think teaching kids the basic principles of entrepreneurship is important because it is essentially a step up from the lemonade stand. It is showing them that they can achieve this at a young age, and there is no age limit on success. It also helps grow kids mentally, teaching them principles they are likely to use in the future, whether they take up entrepreneurship or not.