Computer Mentors November '16 Newsletter
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November 2016 eNewsletter
Teen Business Challenge 2017!

Planning for the 4th Annual Teen Business Challenge (TBC) is now well underway.  We have some great sponsors, a great venue, and are now ready to start recruiting volunteers and students.  For those who are not familiar with TBC, it is an inspiring weekend of creation, competition, and community where teens challenge themselves to develop business ideas and develop a plan to bring them to the market. 

The presenting sponsor for the event will once again be Connectwise.  Connectwise will be the presenting sponsor for the 3rd year in a row.  This year they also are in great company in that both TECO Energy and Citi have also pledged as Fortune 50 sponsors.  In addition JPMorganChase and Vology have pledged as Fortune 500 sponsors to round out our current list of awesome sponsors for the 4th annual event.

The weekend long event consists of four (4) teams, which will face-off for four (4) challenges that culminates in a "Pitch Challenge" to a group of “Angel” investors as judges.  Each round in the competition is judged and the team with the most points at the end wins the over-all Challenge.

This year, we have modified the program slightly from the previous years.  TBC will only be a two (2) day event versus the three (3) days.  To do that, we have also changed the number of Challenges from five (5) to four (4).  Another significant change is that event will include a mini hack-a-thon by encouraging the youth to create an app to model their business idea. To accomplish this we are also asking for a group of app developers to volunteer for the Saturday mornings challenge.

Calling All Volunteers!

Volunteers, we need your help.  To have a successful event we will need at least 40 volunteers to participate in various roles.  The roles include coaches, judges, software developers, subject matter experts (SME’s), hosts and hostesses, and setup and cleanup crews. We are also seeking a volunteer coordinator who will assist with communications to volunteers.  To sign-up or to get a full description of each position, please visit our website at
Also, additional sponsors are always welcomed.  Please contact Director Ralph Smith ( for more information.

Middleton High Partnership

This semester CMG initiated a partnership with Middleton High School's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).  FBLA is the largest business organization available for students and is dedicated to helping students excel in the business world by developing public speaking skills, teaching proper business and social etiquette, and by giving students the proper technical skills for today’s business world. Middleton FBLA is the largest organization on the campus of Middleton High School with over 200 students. "CMG and Middleton FBLA’s partnership has been a life changing experience for the students” says Mr. Tayo Akinrefon – Department Head - Computer Systems Engineering Magnet
Students in FBLA undertake business venture projects. It includes developing a business plan which may also mean developing a website or app for the business.  That's where CMG comes in.  First CMG assists students to obtain the technology skills by providing opportunities to obtain skills and certifications in the Microsoft productivity software series.  These include Microsoft Word certification, Microsoft PowerPoint certification, Microsoft excel certification, or Microsoft Access certification.  Once the youth obtain a certification in the productivity series, they then trained in the skills necessary to complete a personal project which can be the website or phone app for their business.
CMG provides incentives to the students who earn certifications, mentor other students, and excel in the program. CMG has over $10,000 annually, to distribute to youth for incentives, scholarships, and internships.
CMG is looking for talented students in the East Tampa area to join the partnership. Students interested in joining can do so through our website at and selecting “Get Involved”. 


New Employee Preview

Computer Mentors is pleased to introduce our newest mentor, Edwin Rodriguez.  Edwin brings to the table a vast background in customer service and marketing, as well as great enthusiasm in working with youth.  Edwin’s bilingual skills will aid Computer Mentors in providing services at locations where we have a high population of Latino/Spanish-speaking students.

We look forward to working with you, Edwin.  Welcome aboard!

The Directors Message
Hello again everyone,

As we approach Thanksgiving week I was reflecting on all the things that I and CMG has to be thankful about.  Next year will we will celebrate our 20th year of service to the community.  Certainly that’s one of the things we are most thankful for.  Through the 20 years we’ve served nearly 2,000 high school aged youth, 350 middle school aged youth (just in the last two years), and many thousands of adults through various programs. But what really makes that special to us is the realization that none of it happen through our own efforts, but from the effort and the generosity of this wonderful Tampa community that continues to support our efforts.

There are way too many supporters to do a complete list here, but we truly appreciate all of you.  I do want to mention some of the newest members of that family which recently responded to assist us with our (still pending) match grant and our Teen Business Challenge event coming up in February.  They are AgileThought (thanks Vonita and Nicole and company) and Vology (thanks Amy, Marie and company).  We really appreciate it.  You’ve certainly set us up to have a truly thankful Thanksgiving.

Ralph A. Smith

Thanks to our Sponsors!
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