While most 18-year-old schoolboys are spending their time playing video games or awkwardly trying to interact with the opposite sex, Bayfield High School student Indy Griffiths has started a business which he hopes will launch a long entrepreneurial career.
The Year 13 Dunedinite last week launched parentinterviews.co.nz, a website designed to simplify the parent-teacher interview process.
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The website allows parents of kids at subscribed schools to instantly book interviews with teachers online, and the teachers have nothing to do except show up and know which student they will be talking about.
What distinguishes Indy’s website from those of his competitors is that parentinterviews integrates with school administration software provider KAMAR, allowing it to quickly grab information from the student database. It also charges a flat yearly fee as opposed to forcing schools with more students to pay a higher price.
So how did a schoolboy have the time or skills to undertake such a project?
Like the characters in so many young success stories, the majority of Indy’s programming knowledge was self-taught.
Then last year he developed the project as part of an application for an NCEA scholarship in technology, of which he was the only Year 12 in the country to receive.
“The idea started off as my Year 12 Scholarship Portfolio, so that means I spent about six months designing it from scratch, testing it, coming up with different wireframes, and implementing it in our school.
“I decided other schools could benefit from it so I decided to turn it into an actual business.”
The website officially launched on Friday, and currently Bayfield High School is its only customer. However, the ambitious teenager has already set the wheels in motion for rapid growth.
At a KAMAR national conference in Rotorua last week, managing director Kent Lendrum announced the business’ partnership with parentinterviews in front of over 300 people belonging to various schools throughout the country.
Indy has faith that the business will be a great success, and dominating the market in this country is just the tip of the iceberg.
“We’re going to wait a year or two til we’ve got a good, solid client base in New Zealand before we expand overseas.”
In the meantime, Indy plans on starting a Bachelors of Science degree majoring in Computer Science at Otago University next year.
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