In my journey as a 10% Entrepreneur, I’ve met people from all walks of life. But the story of Jon Johnson never ceases to amaze me. At the age of 14, he started his entrepreneurial journey with iEducate, while keeping up with his high school education, community service, family duties and even the Boy Scouts!
With iEducate, he’s managed to help students in his hometown of Atlanta, GA, not only to become better students, but to also get involved in their communities, develop leadership skills and even become entrepreneurs of their own! They’re not the only ones benefitting from the program: teachers from iEducate have also expanded their own CVs by working on the program.
Jon, a graduate of Westlake High School, is now moving up to the next level. He’s attending Stanford University this fall, and working hard to keep iEducate going. This is an awesome story of the power of social entrepreneurship to empower and change communities, and on how when it comes to 10%-ing, age is just a number if you have the drive to pursue your dreams.
1. What is the name of your business and what do you do?
iEducate LLC is an educational firm that specializes in curating peer-to-peer learning sessions. We provide educational experiences such as tutorial services, mentoring services, and financial literacy courses for both our iEducates (students) and iEducators (tutors). Also, iEducate encourages its members to create, lead, and develop community service projects, organizations, and initiatives to positively influence their communities.
2. When did you start iEducate?
iEducate started thanks to a friend of mine. She approached me about her difficulty in math, and we reached an agreement for us to sit down and work out the problems. If she failed to learn the concepts, she would have to pay over $250 for summer school, a luxury that she could not afford. Therefore, we scheduled time to be able to solve this issue. After one hour of instruction, she told me that she learned more from me in one hour than she did in an entire year from her teacher. The results: she passed her recovery exam and did not have to pay the cost of summer school. iEducate was born.
Four years later: the same student graduated with honors from Westlake High School with an academic scholarship to attend Clark Atlanta University. She has also contributed to her community by leading several service initiatives. Now, through her work with iEducate, she has generated the capital to start her own entrepreneurial program. She has started her own online clothing boutique to provide affordable, yet trendy clothing to high school to college-aged students.
3. How as iEducate done so far?
iEducate has created an ecosystem of students, tutors, and parents who are working together to become a positive influence in their communities through education, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.
On one hand, it has increased student achievement in several schools in Southwest Atlanta through its unique yet effective educational strategies. Students have benefited through increased performance on standardized tests, stellar community service initiatives, and the confidence to use their new strategies to continue to change the world.
Teachers have helped increase student achievement amongst their peers, create state & nationally-recognized community service initiatives, and generate the financial & intellectual capital to build their own entrepreneurial platforms to provide their communities with a desired product or service.
Also, they have been accepted into prestigious universities such as Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University, Stanford University, University of Georgia (Fellowship Foundation Scholar), and beyond to accrue the equivalent of over millions of scholarship dollars to further their education. They’ve additionally worked to secure internships to pursue their dreams, whether it be internships with Atlanta politicians and research internships with Emory University, Georgia Tech, and Morehouse School of Medicine.
4. What have you invested in your company?
I have invested four years, amounting to ten working years of time into iEducate. I’ve also invested and developed my strengths through my educational, business, managerial, marketing, social media, leadership, and networking experiences.
5. How have the people in your environment been helpful?
I’m glad that the people who surround me have continued to encourage me through guidance and consultation. Since I worked within an educational environment, I can consult with educational experts on a daily basis to refine and develop my educational strategies. Then, I was able to apply the methods with my peers at school.
I also have plenty of advisors! They include students in high school, collegiate students, and post-collegiate students who offer additional educational expertise, media expertise, and business expertise. All my advisors are 10%-ers, as they are also working as students within educational institutions and throughout various internships with an array of subject fields.
6. What has been the biggest challenge and how have you overcome it?
The most significant challenge has been securing strategic partnerships with educational software companies, various organizations and businesses, that would help iEducate members to expand their platforms to new levels to increase the positive impacts on their communities.
7. How does iEducate fit within your life and who you are?
As a seasoned community leader, academic achiever, and entrepreneur, iEducate embodies the community of positive individuals that I have met throughout my career. iEducate functions as a whole-life program to help those who aspire to make a difference by helping them to generate a platform and capital to bring their vision to life.
8. What are your other duties, besides iEducate?
My “day job” consists of my life as a student, community servant, and brother. I have balanced my entrepreneurial duties with being a full-time student at Westlake High School, where I recently graduated as the school’s salutatorian (2 of 480 students) in the most competitive class in the district’s history. Now, I will attend Stanford University in the Fall.
Within the school, I additionally served as the school Student Government Association President, coordinating school functions and community service activities for 2,200 students. I’ve also worked directly with the Superintendent of Fulton County Schools and the Superintendent of the Georgia Board of Education to positively influence educational policy.
Also, I served as an Eagle Scout within the Boy Scouts of America where I represented over 3.5 million members of the organization during its Report to the Nation in 2014.
Through it all, I faithfully and truthfully perform the role of serving as Hallie Johnson’s big brother where I serve in multiple roles as chef, consultant, investor, caretaker, among other things. I was appointed to this position in 2005, after her hectic, pre-mature birth to love and protect her as any big brother should. As of now, she is a thriving young lady who is working to find her niche, which is currently leaning towards the field of computer science and engineering.
9. What are your top tips for managing time?
- Keeping a to-do list
- Having friends who keep you accountable
- Daily casual reading
10. What books and blogs have you read and that have been helpful to you (if any)?
- Patrick J. McGinnis – 10% Entrepreneur
- Jonah Berger – Contagious
- Jordan Ellenburg – How Not To Be Wrong
- Dr. Chantrise Holliman – Teach, Stay, Love
- Erica Dias – Faith It Until You Make It
- Olu Brown – Leadership Directions From Moses
- The Bible
- Anything from TechCrunch
11. What do you see happening in the future?
iEducate will be curating communities nationally through entrepreneurship, education, and civic engagement. The ecosystem will connect students across the nation to complete national service initiatives. In addition, iEducate will have created a method to deliver educational content digitally to help students in all-subject areas.
12. Anything funny, crazy, particularly memorable you haven’t mentioned?
iEducate was originally called F’s to A’s Tutoring Services when I was 14 years old because I brought the aforementioned student’s grade from an F to an A, so I named the company after her success.