Businesses have power to give back and create change, says nonprofit founder.
Young Entrepreneur Spotlight: Josh Seides
When Josh Seides, of Alpharetta,
Georgia, visits his grandparents in New York and Atlanta, he enjoys helping
them with their iPads, laptops, and other tech items. So it gave him an idea:
How many other senior citizens need help with technology?
In 2012, with a couple of friends as
volunteers, Seides launched Technocademy, a nonprofit organization that teaches
senior citizens and veterans how to use technology—such as Facebook, email,
smartphones, tablets, and laptops—to stay in touch with family and friends. The
nonprofit organization, which Seides won the NFIB/FBLA Young Entrepreneur Award
for, started by providing lessons in a couple local senior centers for two or
three senior citizens each time. Today, Technocademy has impacted more than
180,000 seniors, worked with more than 450 youth volunteers, and raised more
than $25,000 in sponsorships, donations, and in-kind contributions to fund the
mission. Technocademy has also partnered with various companies and
organizations, such as Microsoft, HP, and Google, YMCA, and United Way.
To keep improving Technocademy’s
service, Seides has developed tutorials and presentations on various types of
technology concepts, performed market research with local seniors, and
conducted research with professors from Georgia Tech and Emory University to
discern the most effective teaching methods for keeping seniors’ attention.
Seides also implemented a “chapters” initiative to ensure scalability. There
are now seven chapters of Technocademy around the country, as well as one in
Seides said that getting national
exposure without a marketing budget—and as a high school freshman—was the
biggest challenge for Technocademy, but once he gained the confidence to reach
out to major organizations and corporations, he found new funding sources as
well as many more opportunities for projects and collaboration nationwide. It’s
more advantageous for everyone, he said, to foster interdependent relationships
to build a stronger impact.
“Whether through a nonprofit or
for-profit model, I thoroughly enjoy the ability and power that businesses have
to give back and create a change that is needed in society,” Seides said. “We
often have seniors and veterans come to us and share their new experiences with
how they’ve learned and been able to reconnect with family and friends. I’m
just amazed at the potential for positive impact that businesses can have in
the community. In the future, no matter what business I might delve into, I
look forward to enjoying what social footprints it can make for those in need.”
For now, Seides is looking forward
to continuing Technocademy while attending Harvard University. He plans to
start a new chapter in Boston and work with some underclassmen at Alpharetta
High School to continue operations in Georgia.
“I have seen the immense impact of the nonprofit firsthand
and know it is an endeavor that will benefit many people by continuing,” he