TYLER Regan is just 17 but has already founded a promising business, Orchard School Systems, which creates software to help schools with administration and student engagement.
The HSC student from Tomaree High School got the idea for the product when his school was looking to "go digital" with a few programs.
"I said I can program, do you want me to make some for you?" he recalls.
Mr Regan has been computer programming since he was eight, when his dad - also a programmer - introduced him to it.
"He didn't force me or anything, it's not his fault that I sit at a computer for 12 hours a day," Tyler said.
Orchard School Systems' software aims to bring aspects of school data, attendance and student rewards and interactions into one system, to be used by administrators, teachers and students.
In terms of student rewards and encouragement, "most schools currently have an analogue based system - either paper, memory or stickers," Mr Regan said.
Other software such as attendance and book keeping is digital, "but they're not connected - they're all separate on different systems so we're trying to bring it into one place".
"The biggest challenge with starting this business is my age, I'm still at school which means I can't devote 100% of my time and energy into it, which means its been taking longer than I'd hoped for," he said.
"Hopefully after the HSC I can put more time into it."
In 2017, Mr Regan won first prize in the Hunter Young Business Mind Awards, receiving $1000 for his business and connecting him with mentorship body Hunter Futurepreneurs.
Its facilitator and chairperson of the awards committee, Cheryl Royle, said Mr Regan's success story is helping others by "encouraging students in the Hunter to think like entrepreneurs, express their creativity and develop self-confidence".
Mr Regan the industry connections made through the experience are far more valuable than the money.
"I don't know anyone so Hunter Futurepreneurs helped me connect with industry people who could help me further my product. They also gave me expert mentoring - I don't think I'd be where I am without Cheryl," he said.
With applications now open for the 2019 Hunter Young Business Mind awards, Mr Regan encouraged others to participate: "You can't lose anything, and if you do win you get amazing contacts and recognition. It's a net positive".
The awards are open to Hunter primary and secondary students alongside TAFE and university students under 25.