Ryan Clark built his first computer at age 12 with the help of a YouTube video. Now 15, he estimates he's built more than 100 PCs and his part time computer business has done $60,000 in sales in the last few months alone.
Clark is just one of the students who will be showcasing their businesses at UCOL's Young Enterprise Market Day on Thursday 8 July.
Clark, a Year 11 student at Cornerstone Christian School, started his business Volta Tech in late 2019. This year he has been doing the U-Skills Business Enterprise programme to help take Volta Tech to the next level. The programme runs in conjunction with the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme and counts towards NCEA Level 3.
Volta Tech sells eleven different desktop PC models with a focus on gaming. Clark also offers custom builds.
Clark's philosophy is to provide the lowest prices possible. Part of his strategy is refurbishing old computers and selling them as his cheapest models.
"I don't have a lot of overheads - I rent space in the garage from my parents, I hire friends as contractors, and mum handles the accounts - so I try to be the cheapest option. I've also connected with wholesalers who have been really helpful in getting parts cheaper," says Clark.
Volta Tech recently expanded its range to include cryptocurrency mining rigs, which have been big sellers.
"Cryptocurrency is still a new industry, so I wanted to get in early. I've only seen one other retailer in New Zealand selling rigs, so it has really taken off. Last year we had total sales of $60,000, and now we've done that in just the past couple of months – the crypto mining rigs have been a big part of that."
Five percent of Volta Tech's profit is going towards providing schools in Cambodia with computers, printers, and mobile hotspotting. Clark hopes to donate 100 computers by 2025.
Clark says his UCOL studies have really helped him with planning for his business.
"I'm very task-based and just focus on getting things done, so the course has made me take a step back and look at things like sales forecasts, a mission statement, and goals for the next five years."
"The business wasn't very big before the UCOL course, but this has helped me grow it. It's good how practical U-Skills is. I struggle to learn when the teaching is all theory-based, but this has been really hands on."
Clark was also recently selected for the BizVenture Japan Challenge. Here teams from New Zealand and Japan will work on a business challenge focused on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and learn about doing business in both countries.
UCOL's Young Enterprise Market Day is running from 11am to 1pm on Thursday 8 July in the UCOL Manawatū campus Atrium.