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Meet Ali Kitinas, the 16-year-old CEO from Sydney

16-year-old teenagers usually spend their time going out with friends or doing all kinds of leisure activities, but Sydney-born Ali Kitinas is doing business at a level some adults only dream of. The teenager is the founder and CEO of ethical body scrub range Freedom Scrub and even has her own mother as an employee. What is her story, though?

Ali Kitinas has always had a knack for entrepreneurship. At the young age of 11, she launched her first business, a social media marketing agency, and in 2015 she started up Freedom Scrub, after a trip to Kolkata. ”I’ve always been passionate about giving back, and I wanted to imprint the message that young people can help,” she says about the start-up that came to life when she found ”just how dangerous it is for human trafficking” in Kolkata.

Her company uses ethically-sourced coffee grinds and donates funds towards healthcare and medical services for 5 children in the slums of Kolkata for every Freedom Scrub that consumers purchase.

Photo: Facebook/Freedom Scrub

”There are so many businesses which are just for profit. I want to show you can give back – even in business,” she justifies her business plans.

Ali Kitinas recalls that her desire to do business was very much influenced by her mother, Lynne. ”From a very young age, I was attached to my mum’s hip. I went to business meetings with her and absorbed everything like a sponge,” she says. ”Around the time I was eleven, she came out of a corporate role and became an entrepreneur,” she explained.

Photo: Facebook/Freedom Scrub

The two are now great collaborators within the company, with Lynne handling the legal and financial aspects of the business, and Ali tackling marketing and products. ”I try to be a good daughter and she tries to be a good employee. Really, we are just incredibly close – and we have got things balanced very well,” she says.

Lydia Peirce