Friends and family members frequently call upon high school students Aldo Cordero, Sydney Goforth and Angie Zavala for help with setting up smartphones and other gadgets.
Last year, the trio combined forces and launched a business.
The students at Lorenzo Walker Technical High School in Naples, Florida, created We Tech, a mobile technology assistance service, as part of a project for their entrepreneurship class.
Lorenzo Walker Technical High School students Aldo Cordero, Sydney Goforth and Angie Zavala present their business concept, We Tech, to a panel of judges at the 2016 Entrepreneurship High School Challenge at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
They now have $1,000 to help them grow their company after winning first place in the 2016 Entrepreneurship High School Challenge presented by the Rinker School of Business at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
The students provide on-site tech help to small groups of clients, typically those of their parents' generation and older. They offer email and social media training as well as guidance with communication apps like Skype.
“Overall, We Tech wants to connect families together,” Cordero said during the group’s presentation to a panel of judges.
The teens said that their partnerships with high-end residential communities, which allow them to come in and offer training, are what sets them apart from competitors. They also offer help to clients one-on-one, they said.
Their presentation, along with their written business plan, official company polo shirts and lighted display board, helped them achieve first place amid a pool of five finalists.
This year’s second-place prize of $500 went to Make Up Doctor, a company started by student Jessica Blakley of The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach. She developed a kit that repairs broken compact makeup, such as pressed powder and blush.
The third-place award of $250 went to the team of Matthew Koenig, Jose Bautista and Melissa Rodriguez, also from Lorenzo Walker Technical High School. Their company, Gamers Tank, partners with companies like GameStop to host video game tournaments.
The day’s activities included a presentation by experienced entrepreneur Will Lopez, founder and CEO of AdvisorFi.
This was the fifth year of the competition, which attracted student teams from nine Florida high schools.
The other participating high schools were American Heritage School of Boca/Delray, Barron Collier High School, Doral Charter Academy High School, Fort Lauderdale High School, North Miami Beach Senior High School, Palm Beach Gardens High School and Treasure Coast High School.
Serving as judges were Philippe Cohen, general manager of Oxygen Development; Jim Dullum, senior partner with Fieldstone Equity, Nick Mohnacky ’06, founder of Sufr App; Bryan Monteleone of Lisnr; Darline Richter, partner with Travani & Richter; Scott Roads, senior vice president and managing director with Northern Trust Company; Misty Travani, partner with Travani & Richter; and Robert Wells, CEO of Allocable.