PENDLETON — Shortly after he realized his name wasn’t called, Brandon Boynton took a few minutes to take deep breaths and grasp what just happened.
“My dad looked me in the face and said, ‘It’s time to be a man. Suck it up and congratulate everyone. Be a true entrepreneur, look at adversity and move on,’” the Pendleton Heights High School junior said.
Boynton was one of six finalists in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholars Finals to pitch his business plan at America’s Small Business Summit Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
The top three winners were announced Thursday, when Boynton realized he didn’t win a scholarship, a business start-up prize package or a chance to present to the “sharks” on the ABC show “Shark Tank.”
Boynton pitched his business model for the Bully Box, a smartphone application allowing students to safely and anonymously report bullying in participating schools. The app also allows students to photograph accidents and report them in real time.
The app is free, but schools would pay a fee to receive reports. Each school is set up with a user identification, and information from parents or students is sent through an encrypted server before reports are sent to school officials.
“I certainly don’t consider being one of six finalists (out of more than 2,670) across the country, I don’t consider that to be a failure at all,” Boynton said.
Boynton powered through his disappointment and made the most of the rest of the conference, he said. He took advantage of a reception following the announcement to network with businessmen and businesswomen.
“A lot of people said they faced adversity,” Boynton said. “You have to have drive, motivation and be passionate to be an entrepreneur. It’s very encouraging, and supportive, to hear other entrepreneur’s stories.”