Student From I Promise School Wins Young Entrepreneur Award With Free WiFi Plan

Jill Painter Lopez

Dylan West, an I Promise School student, won a Northeast Ohio Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge award. His idea centered around starting a company, Scholarly Connections, that would provide free WiFi access for all in Akron. He was one of five award winners. 

The LeBron James Family Foundation tweeted a congratulatory message to West.

“I PROMISE student, Dylan West, was named one of five winners in the Northeast Ohio Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge," The LeBron James Family Foundation wrote. "His award-winning pitch centered on the challenges students without Wi-Fi access face, & how his company idea can create accessible internet for every student.” 

West made a video for the contest that the foundation shared on Twitter.

“Have you ever experienced a struggle with getting that schoolwork done because you just don’t have that WiFi access?” West asked in the video. “Or maybe experienced a struggle just going to the library and fill out an essay paper to keep up with everyone else in the class? ... Scholarly Connections gives free accessible WiFi to everyone in the city of Akron.

“Not only does this affect scholars of the city of Akron, but it brings more businesses to the community. At Scholarly Connections, we understand this is bigger than WiFi. This connects communities and families and this connects the city of Akron as a whole ... It will surely change the world someday and we believe that we can give Akron and the people of Akron WiFi for all, free for no charge because education and connecting family should never be charged.” 

The I Promise School made sure that all of its students have access to WiFi in their homes, which was especially essential during stay-at-home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students checked in everyday with their teachers in Google Hangouts

LeBron James founded the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron in 2018 to help at-risk students.