Dyslexic teen scores Xero internship
Teenager Matthew Strawbridge went from hero to Xero after the boss of the multibillion tech firm offered him a summer internship.
The 15-year-old was a finalist in The Welly Awards youth category after turning his struggle with dyslexia into a successful website.
Xero chief executive Rod Drury was so impressed with Matthew's efforts that he offered him a "job" at the online accounting firm while giving his acceptance speech for winning the business category.
Drury said Matthew was passionate and showed a flair for technology.
He had also proved he could hustle in business.
Matthew had taken his learning disability and turned it around, which showed his entrepreneurial skills.
"Hopefully we will inspire him to decide where to put his efforts in future study," Drury said.
Matthew said his life goal was to be an entrepreneur like Drury, and to get a chance to work with him was inspiring.
Drury's speech was an unexpected "wow moment".
In between studying for his business studies exam yesterday, he had researched Xero and called Drury to organise his stint at the global company.
"I hope to get an insight into the fascinating world of business and learn from that environment."
The Scots College student said he refused to let dyslexia get the better of him.
As a 13-year-old he developed the website Dyslexia Potential, which includes video tutorials, learning exercises and confidence-boosting content.
Last year, he also co-founded TutorBook, which allows students of all ages, abilities and class subjects to be tutored online via Skype.
"I felt inspired to share my story because I never wanted any other kid to feel the same sense of worthlessness that I had."
While studying for NCEA he also found time to host workshops to help others with dyslexia.
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, who also battled dyslexia, was his role model but now Drury was "up there".
Matthew met Branson at a youth leadership summit, when Branson invited him on stage to congratulate him on his work.
- The Dominion Post