13-year-old carves out success in digital age

Young Farmborough Heights entrepreneur James Cooper plans to keep himself busy over the summer school holidays with his new business transferring VHS and other tapes into digital format for a growing list of clients.

The Illawarra Grammar School (TIGS) student is in year 7 and started his new business venture during the last school holidays when he decided there was a niche market for VHS to DVD transfers.

"I have been doing this for about two months," the 13-year-old said.

"I was looking for a job and making some form of money because I have been spending a lot of money on school projects. I built a computer ... and that cost me a lot of money.

"It really started when I looked at the McDonald's website and it said the minimum age of employment was 14."

James then thought about what he could do himself and concluded something he had already been doing at home could be marketable.

"I had been using the transfer equipment for dad [Brett Cooper] and I had gone through all my baby tapes," he said.

"Some friends had asked me to do it a while ago so one day I went to their place and they gave me their equipment to do their tapes. At the end of that instead of being paid ... I got the equipment."

Now he can transfer action from tapes recorded by outmoded camcorders to digital format.

"I have put an ad on Gumtree and made my business searchable through Google as well with my website," he said.

"I have many websites but this is my first proper commercial one at www.vhstrans.webs.com."

James now has his own business cards and launched his project at school last week.

Just days later he did the same at an Illawarra Women In Business (IWIB) networking lunch sponsored by TIGS.

James thinks he will achieve a return on his investment this summer.

It transpires he is not the only enterprising member of the family.

"I have a younger brother [Jason] and I use his computer," he said.

"I have to pay him $1 per job."

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