Rhett Jones is a 17-year old living in Austin, Texas where he attends Alpha, a start-up high school that aims to help students love school, learn twice as fast and master life skills. He is currently building Texas' best public bike park in his neighborhood in Austin, for which he managed to secure $40,000 of government funding. But his real ambition is to secure a $100,000 investment to build the best private downhill mountain biking park in Texas and turn it into a profitable enterprise.
Where did the love for downhill mountain biking come from?
Downhill mountain biking is the only sport I’ve ever truly loved. It’s not something that I grew up with - I gave it a try in my early teens and since then I’ve been obsessed. Building downhill mountain biking trails is very much a niche occupation, but I would love to build a really good shuttle-serviced downhill mountain biking park with trails in Texas. Currently, I am trying to convince ranch owners to let me build a park like this on their ranch, and once that is done the fundraising will begin.
How did BETA Camp come into your life?
I just heard about it – not too sure where exactly – and signed up for it. The team I was working with built something called Tech Café, which entailed finding an expert in an innovative technology field and every week we got a group of kids to attend a meeting where they were taught more about a specific topic. Every week a different topic would be discussed. Even though I thought it would be hard to make money off this, I enjoyed working on it. Not too many other students wanted to build a downhill mountain biking park!
Did BETA Camp change your perspective on business?
Before BETA Camp, I always had the mindset that as a high school kid raising $100,000 from private investors was literally impossible. BETA Camp gave me an entrepreneurial perspective and confidence and taught me the essentials of starting a business, and now I realize it is actually not that hard. I am hoping that the BETA Camp Fellowship will provide me with the extra help and resources to grow my bike park.
These bike parks that I'm currently making in high school are just a step in the overall dream of making the world's best bike park. But who knows what the future holds.