Someone to look up to

Alex Gillis (15)
Hometown: Halifax, N.S.
Executive summary: High school student with a passion for sailing, soccer, downhill skiing, photography, technology and computer programming. Alex is the co-founder of Microcent.org (a micro donation and content discovery platform) and Frame (a service similar to NetFlix that offers stock photography instead of video or television).

Wearing his Fountain Academy school colours (photo: Barb Martell/Sacred Heart School of Halifax)

Wearing his Fountain Academy school colours (photo: Barb Martell/Sacred Heart School of Halifax)

My greatest teacher is my mom. She’s a medical geneticist at the IWK hospital and teaches at the Dalhousie medical school. She’s a single mom who has done it all on her own, going through graduate school and medicine while raising me. I hope to follow in her footsteps as a strong independent individual who strives to make the world a better place through assisting others.

I’ve been programming since age nine. I started with visual basic through online forums and then became very passionate about web technologies and started to become fluent in both frontend and server-side languages by the time I was in grade six.

I subscribe to the 1,000-100-10-1 rule of thumb for entrepreneurship. At any given time, about 1,000 people around the world will have the same idea, 100 people will start exploring the idea further, 10 people will actually go ahead and build something and in the end one will succeed. With this in mind and the capacity to dare to fail, anything is possible.

The mission of MicroCent is to make the web a better place by keeping the web open and free. You simply purchase a monthly subscription and continue to browse the web. At the end of every month, MicroCent tallies up which articles and posts you’ve read and rewards the writers and content creators based on how much of their content you’ve read. The best part is you also get to reward the charity of your choice every month by requesting a percentage of your subscription be passed on to them.

In the next 10 years, I hope to have launched a successful start-up and to be a mentor for aspiring young entrepreneurs. Ultimately I would like to build connections to Silicon Valley but maintain my strong ties here in Atlantic Canada.

Click here for extended interview with Alex

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Dawn Chafe
About Dawn Chafe

For the past 19 years, Dawn has been editor of Atlantic Canada’s most award-winning and largest circulation business magazine: Atlantic Business Magazine. Under her editorial direction, Atlantic Business Magazine has won 14 Atlantic Journalism Awards, three TABBIE international business press awards and two KRW national business press awards.

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