The Rising Star Student Entrepreneur Award, now in its second year, was created in partnership with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to highlight innovative and resourceful students already running their own businesses. This year’s winners are Javon Gholston and Michael Heier from Baltimore.
They say that “necessity is the mother of invention” and it holds true for Javon and Mike. The friends were enrolled in the “Project Lead the Way” Engineering Pathway at Patterson Park High School and became project partners for a Digital Electronics class, focusing on working with electronic components, digital circuits and printed circuit boards or PCB’s.
While soldering components on PCBs, Javon and Mike noticed that the holes in the circuit board quickly clogged with solder and removing the excess was difficult and time consuming. Existing de-soldering tools were temperamental and not reliable. They put their heads together, taking note of the pros and cons of existing tools to create a de-solder pen. Their new design was easier to use and it worked without fail. Before graduating in 2015, as part of their Capstone Engineering Design Project and with help from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, they wrote a business plan, formed their company “Power to the PCB” and applied for a patent.
Currently, Javon is preparing to enlist in the US Air Force and Mike is attending Morgan State University. They plan to continue working on their business and expect to have their full patent in July and will then begin a limited production run.