Kelly Reinhart (Age 6) – T-Pak
Whilst stuck indoors one rainy afternoon, six-year-old Kelly Reinhart’s parents challenged their daughter and her siblings to draw a picture of an invention. The prize for coming up with the best idea was getting a prototype made. Inspired by cowboy gun holsters, Reinhart drew a thigh pack that would allow kids to carry their video games around.
After getting feedback from other children, Reinhart and her parents made improvements to the design and obtained a patent in 1998. They started out selling the packs at flea markets and trade shows, but interest grew, and pretty soon they had an investor for their company T-Pak International. Reinhart’s father even became his daughter’s full-time employee. The company’s earnings were invested in other companies, he explained, adding that if they had kept the profits, “we would have made millions.” In 2001, his industrious daughter sold the firm, at the age of nine. Then in 2002, Reinhart started her own non-profit organization to teach other kids how to become inventors.