Scott Millar, 17, has been running his own businesses since Year 9. (ABC News: Lexy Hamilton-Smith)
Tech-head prodigy Scott Millar is being compared to a young Steve Jobs after turning a school project into a thriving business, becoming a CEO at the age of 17.
Scott founded BOP, Buy Our Product Industries, three years ago while in Year 9 as part of his business studies at Sheldon College on Brisbane’s bayside.
His first product was to create custom-made hashtag keyrings.
Fellow students were employed to help make the laser-cut keyrings and sell them at local markets.
The project taught him was how to run a balance sheet, workflow and make a profit.
Scott and his dad selling the hashtag keyring, which was the teenager’s first business. (Supplied: Scott Millar)
But being a whizz kid at creating holograms, Scott then started to dream big, and decided to develop his own holographic projection company.
It creates individual 3D displays for the Australian conference market.
Rental wise, they make anything from $30 to $200 per device, depending on the size and complexity of the holograms.
“We are making a profit which is fantastic,” he said.
“Dad was the initial investor injecting around $6,000 into the business.
“It is all paid back now and we are making a profit and reinvesting it.”
Scott Millar’s dad Glenn helps build a two-metre hologram frame at their home in Brisbane’s Bayside. (Supplied: Scott Millar)
Scott now holds workshops across the country to convinced other teenagers to achieve the same goals, by encouraging them to embrace technology.
He has so far inspired more than 4,000 youngsters to think “entrepreneur” when it comes to picking a career.
He said it was a way to futureproof your job and your life while still at school.
“I want to encourage kids to show there are other avenues they can take after they graduate. It is not just university,” he said.
Scott Millar founded BOP, Buy Our Product Industries, in Year 9, with his first product being custom-made keyrings. (Supplied)
Next month, he will also become the youngest chief executive to speak at the Queensland University of Technology’s Creative 3 conference, Australia’s largest gathering for creative entrepreneurs.
The events organiser, QUT’s Creative Enterprise Australia CEO Mark Gustowski, is comparing the teen to one of Apple’s genius co-founders.
“He is like a young Steve Jobs without the aggressiveness,” he said.
“People come to him and are intrigued by what he is doing.
“They want to know who Scott is and what drives him.”
Balancing work with school assignments
Scott said he would not have achieved any of his goal if not for his school’s willingness to be flexible when it comes to studying for Year 12 exams and running a business.
Senior school director Diane Vandermeer said they bend over backwards to help manage his deadlines.
“Basically we have to negotiate with him so he can fit school in somewhere in amongst his business venture,” she said with a smile.
“We meet regularly to balance his program and we often have to reschedule his assessments.
“He has an amazing business acumen and he has lit some fires all over the place in terms of excitement and energy.”
Scott said being compared to the great Steve Jobs was a huge compliment.
“That just makes my day,” he said.
Like the late Apple tech guru, Scott is more than ambitious.
His vision is to take his workshops and conference business global.
As for his holograms, he wants them to be life-size ones you can talk to and interact with. Think Star Wars and that famous scene with a “floating” holographic Princess Leia begging Obi wan Kenobi for help.
“For example a huge holographic stand at Brisbane Airport. You walk up to it and ask it a question, ask it where you are going,” he said.
“Or when you are face-timing someone on the other side of the world and they are standing there floating on top of your phone.
“My dream is to bring new and emerging technologies to life and put them into the hands of everyday people.
“They are my long-term goals.”
He has to pass Year 12 first — but according to his teachers that is a given.