TWO budding entrepreneurs at Birchwood High School have set up a business to capitalise on the popularity of smart phones.
Luke Hutchings, 14, and his 13-year-old mate Louis Komodromou are the brains behind Apploadio.
Luke lives in St Michael’s Mead, Bishop’s Stortford, with mum Jana, who works in publishing, dad Jon, who owns a cleaning company, and sister Megan, 10, who is a Northgate Primary School pupil.
He explained: "We started an online web application that people can use from their iPhone or iPod to legally get a new set of paid apps for free for one day every day.
"We get in contact with developers to make their app free for one day. We then put the app on our site so that people can download it and, once the 24 hours are up, it goes back to being paid.
“Our web application is completely free and runs in the browser, taking up no additional space on your device. We have absolutely no staff ... only both of us and our computers."
Louis lives in Rhodes Avenue with parents Katrina and Barry, 12-year-old sister Lauren, who goes to Herts and Essex High School, and younger brother Henry, 9, who attends Windhill Primary School.
He said that he and Luke realised they were onto a winner when they sourced a £4.99 app for free. Their friends were so impressed they asked the boys to source more deals and Apploadio was born.
Convincing suppliers to back the idea has been a little trickier for the lads.
They said: “They’re really quite shocked sometimes and it can be a massive hurdle to leap in terms of talking to developers over the phone and applying for certain things that we need in order to be able to run our company.
"We’ve had the phone put down on us many times when they hear our voices, thinking we’re pulling some practical joke on them.
“When going into a bank to apply for a business bank account we had to pitch our idea to a business bank manager. He was highly impressed with us considering our age.
"I think it’s quite amazing, however, that people in the business world don't seem to trust us and it really causes a massive issue.
“There are more and more young entrepreneurs emerging in this day and age and I feel that they should be treated with the same respect as any other business person."
Nevertheless, they have big plans.
"We’re currently working as a non-profit in order to concentrate on getting as many users as we can. We do, however, have a line of advertisers and app developers wanting to pay us to feature their app on our site. We are always looking for potential advertisers."
Luke said: "Who knows what will happen next? We’re taking this experience as it comes and we’re constantly trying to up our game. We’re also planning on releasing an iPad, Android and Blackberry version very soon."
Louis added: "We have created an app version of Apploadio and are currently pending approval."
They hope to come up with other joint ventures and have advice for other youngsters looking to make waves in the business world.
Luke said: "I'd say that you have to listen to what the people want and if you have an idea, pursue it and never give up.
“At the start of Apploadio we had many times where we wanted to quit, however we overcame the issues and persevered.
“At the end of the day, we’re still young and have our whole life ahead of us. Just have fun with what you're doing and enjoy doing it."
Louis agreed: "Get up and do something productive while still having fun with what you're doing.
“By starting at an early age, you will have the benefits of knowing how the business world works. Get the experience while you're young so that you don't get a shock when you're dropped into the business world."
For more details, see http://www.apploadio.com.