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Teenager aims to get product on reality TV show and shelves of national retailers

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A Sunshine Coast teenager’s school project has rapidly evolved to become a social media sensation and budding business.

Jackson Stibbard’s all-natural, organic superfood for dogs and cats, Kelp Paws, is reaching global audiences after just six months.

After identifying his market – the 70 per cent of people who own a dog – Jackson has sourced, tested, produced, refined, branded and marketed his product, a kelp-based supplement for dogs and cats with proven health benefits.

Pet food is a lucrative market, with Aussies estimated to have spent about $33 billion on their pets in 2022.

Ninderry MP Dan Purdie said the 15-year-old had a bright future and was a role model for young people.

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“There’s no doubt most young kids are addicted to social media, but Jackson has recognised the immense marketing power of the platform and is using it in a practical and useful way to take his product to the global market,” he said.

“Better still, he’s nailing it. There’s no doubt we’ve got the making of a young entrepreneur on our hands.”

MP Dan Purdie with Jackson Stibbard.

When the Nambour Christian College student isn’t at school or studying, he spends his time filling orders, working with his supplier, managing his social media platforms, spruiking his products at local markets and pet shops, and testing out new product lines (and his mother’s patience) in the family kitchen.

He said his mum recently had to set up an office space for him in the lounge room, after his business outgrew his bedroom.

“My sales are increasing every week, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do to continue to grow my business,” he said.

Jackson Stibbard is enthusiastic about his business.

“My goal is to one day strike a deal on Shark Tank, and get my products on the shelves of national retailers.”

In the meantime, Jackson is grateful for the support of his parents, especially his mum, who drops him off in the early hours of the morning to set up his market stall, and allows him to test his products on the family pooch, Coco.

“Thankfully, mum is still happy to ferry me around, but because the business is doing so well, she’s making me contribute to her fuel, and Coco has never been healthier,” he said.

Mr Purdie said to “watch this space”.

“I think we’ve got another Sunshine Coast small business success story on our hands.”

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