PENDLETON, Ind. - Pendleton Heights junior Brandon Boynton is receiving national attention for a mobile application designed to stop bullying.
Boynton created The Bully Box while in the Madison County Chamber's Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program.
This was the first year for the YEA! program, through the chamber and Purdue University College of Technology in Anderson, and officials say they are pleased with the program's success.
"This is like hitting a home run the first year," Kyle Morey, chamber president and CEO, told The Herald Bulletin (http://bit.ly/1xIU67m ). "This is an amazing opportunity for Brandon and his family, but he is also bringing national attention back to Madison County.
"This could be your next Bill Gates."
Boynton has already started jetting across the nation to learn new technologies though corporate scholarships and sharing his latest business idea. Last week, he traveled to the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco on an Apple scholarship and was featured on CNBC.
On Wednesday, Boynton was presenting The Bully Box at the sixth annual Saunders Scholars Finals in Washington, D.C., against five other national competitors. The contest includes college scholarships ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, a business startup prize, and an opportunity to present to the "sharks" on the ABC television program "Shark Tank!"
Winners of the final competition will be announced Thursday.
"I'm excited, anxious and nervous all together," Boynton said Tuesday from Washington.
Boynton noted that he was prepared for his national presentation, but is facing tough competition from competitors presenting business ideas on solar-panel technology, alternative energy, duck calls, reversible neckties and Indian curry.
The Bully Box is a mobile application for students to report acts of bullying along with photographic evidence anonymously to school officials. Boynton said he understands the need for confidentiality, but it is also important to stop people from being victims of bullying.
The application is free for people to download; schools pay a fee to receive reports from the application. Each school is set up with a user id, and information from parents or students is sent through an encrypted server before being forwarded to school officials.
Boynton said at least one local school is considering use of the mobile application and he hopes more schools can benefit from the technology.
Angela Barbosa, chamber executive vice president and the program manager for YEA!, is attending the finals with Boynton. She said YEA! is a wonderful fit for the youth in the community because Madison County's roots are founded on entrepreneurship.
"That is what this program is all about, inspiring them and then giving them the tools to do it."