When Liam Lloyd moved to Westfield from Mexico in the fall of 2021, he was searching for a tutor to help learn English.
Lloyd said when he got to Westfield High School, he was having problems with detailed reading assignments in his English class and the teacher didn’t have extra time. He went to the school’s Tutor Club.
“It took a long time to schedule a tutor and I didn’t get to pick my own tutor,” he said. “I thought getting help should be essential for a student.”
When Lloyd’s entrepreneurial class teacher John Moore told the class to create a business that affected them, Lloyd came up with the idea of Tutor Us as a way to help students quickly connect with tutors so they don’t fall behind in studies.
Lloyd’s app idea took second place in the STARTedUP Foundation’s fifth annual Innovate WithIN State Competition in June at Butler University. Lloyd, who will be a Westfield High School senior in August, was the winner of the Region 4 pitch competition hosted by Earlham College in Richmond. Lloyd earned $5,000 for finishing second in the state and $2,000 for winning the regional. That money will be used to advance the app.
Lloyd was also the recipient of the first BarrGon Hispanic Startup Award, presented by Mario Barron, one of STARTedUP Foundation CEO Don Wettrick’s former students. The award includes mentorship to encourage more Hispanic students to compete in Innovate WithIN to grow the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs throughout Indiana.
Lloyd, whose twin sister Tonya attends WHS, said they can use the app for all their classes.
“So, it’s students helping other students within the high school,” Lloyd said. “I sell the app to the high school and once I do that, the students have access and they can only find tutors within the same high school to make it safer and more secure.”
Westfield’s estimated 250 National Honor Society members are required to perform 30 service hours, 15 of which have to be tutoring.
“So, that is basically where all the tutors come from,” said Lloyd, who played goalkeeper for the WHS boys soccer team last season. “Then if someone else wants to do it for free, they can.”
Lloyd said he was helped by a team of programmers from Mexico, who he paid to set up the app. His plan is to pitch it to other high schools in Hamilton County.
The first group to use it was the English Next Language students to make sure it works.
“We got a bunch of feedback and little things that make it easier,” Lloyd said. “We added an ‘about me’ so students can know a little more about the tutors.”
The app will be used for the entire school during the coming school year.
Moore is impressed with Lloyd’s dedication.
“Liam is one of the hardest-working students I have had the pleasure of having,” Moore said. “Not only is he a visionary that can see problems, he is flexible enough to know when something isn’t working and pivot. Those are attributes that will continue to allow Liam to be successful.”
Moore said Lloyd doesn’t shy away from challenges.
“We’ve seen him fight through being in a new school in a new country, learning a new language and using these challenges to create an app that will help so many,” Moore said. “He truly is what you look for in an entrepreneur. I’m so happy that business leaders around the state got to see what I have seen throughout the school year, a hardworking young man determined to make a difference.”