Cork teen has ‘fire’ in his belly for new business

Will this Cork entrepreneurial teen follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alan Sugar and Richard Branson? CHRIS DUNNE chats to 14-year-old Jason Harte, who has just embarked on his first business venture
Cork teen has ‘fire’ in his belly for new business

Jason Harte of Harte Fuels.

THERE’S a new kid on the block who has the grit, gumption and ambition to succeed.

Jason Harte, aged just 14, from Killeagh, has embarked on his first business venture that may well see him becoming a young Irish tycoon of the future.

“I’ve always liked working to earn some money in my spare time,” says Jason, who is a second year student at Pobalscoil Tríonóide, Youghal.

“During the summer holidays I help out my neighbours on their farms, milking cows, spraying the land and doing some painting.”

Jason is early to bed and early to rise.

“I got up every day at 6.45am and worked away all day until 8.30pm.”

Did he mind the long hours?

“I got used to it,” says Jason, who is not afraid of hard work.

Did he treat himself with his hard-earned pocket money?

“I bought a few sweets and some pants but mostly I saved it all. I’ll have a good bit saved up after working for a few years.”

Now the teenager, fuelled by ambition with a fire in his belly stoked by an incredible work ethic, has started his own business, Harte Fuels, delivering quality coal, kindling, firewood, Columbian coal, Columbian doubles, country blend smokeless and stove ovids.

“Winter is really coming,” says Jason, who is the second youngest of Christine and Seamus’ five children.

“I’m up the walls, shifting 100 bags of coal out the gate daily. There is a fierce demand for firewood and coal.”

Jason has a mantra.

“Another day; another dollar!”

It is never too late or never too early to be successful in your life, beginning a journey to be a high achiever. Alan Sugar, who is a billionaire, dropped out of school at 14. Ikea founder Ingvar Kampsgrad began his entrepreneurial career selling match-sticks to his neighbours. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, left school at 16 starting a youth lifestyle magazine. Today he is worth £4.3 billion.

Before he strives for any of those heady heights, Jason plans on finishing his education.

“I do my homework in school so I’m free to work after that,” he says.

Jason Harte of Harte Fuels.
Jason Harte of Harte Fuels.

He has other plans.

“I want to buy my own sheep and dairy farm in West Cork.”

When did he start his own business, coming up with a viable idea in these challenging economic times?

“I started selling kindling a few years ago when I was in 5th class at school,” says Jason.

Where did he get his stockpile from?

“I broke up wooden pallets to make kindling for firewood,” says the budding business-man.

He wanted to make more profit.

“I wasn’t making that much out of it,” says Jason. “But it kept me occupied after school.”

He expanded the business rapidly.

“Last November/December, I bought three tons of coal to sell. The first year my dad helped deliver the fuel with me using his car trailer.”

Jason, knowing the value of building up good contacts and good relationships, contracted his neighbours, Dinny and Paddy Walsh, to help him out. One good turn deserves another. “I got busier and the Walsh’s helped me out by letting me have the use of their big pick-up truck,” says Jason.

“Aidan Scanlon, plant hire and cement supplier, who is another friend of mine, offered me the loan of his pick-up truck as well.”

Jason has forged good working relationships in his area.

“I work with the Walsh brothers two or three evenings a week helping out with the milking on their farm. We look after each other.”

Jason has a wide customer base, covering Killeagh, Glendine, Tallow, Midleton, Whitegate, Castlemartyr, Carrigtwohill and Ballinacurra.

“It takes a few hours and it is good to have a bit of money at the end of it,” says Jason.

There are a few more perks going with the job.

“It keeps me occupied,” says Jason. “I’m out in the fresh air meeting nice people who I can help as well along the way.”

Jason, while learning about earning his own money, learning about finances and about budgeting, says that at the end of the day, money isn’t the be all and end all.

“Money is not everything,” he says.

“Your family and your friends are more important than money.”

But having a few bob helps.

“Money gives you choices,” says Jaso,n who has a good head on his shoulders.

He spends and manages his hard-earned money wisely.

“I look for bargains,” says Jason.

“I don’t believe in squandering my money after working so hard for it.”

He has an eye on the future.

“I hope to have a lot of people working for me,” he says.

Jason, full of energy and the joys of life, packs a lot into every minute.

“I put a lot into my day,” says Jason.

“Recently I had an order for a load of turf delivered from Co. Offaly — 400 bags of turf had to be bagged for sale, which I started doing after school in the evenings. People love the smell of turf and it gives out good heat.”

Jason is flat out.

“With winter coming, I am flat out from the end of September to the end of December up until the spring,” says Jason.

“Helping with the milking on the farm and then delivering fuel every evening keeps me very busy.”

Does all work and no play make Jason a dull boy?

“Ah no,” says Jason.

“I’ve loads of friends and great neighbours; so it’s all good.”

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