When Rudransh “Rudy” Arora tries to explain his business to the people around him, he’s usually met with surprise.
It tends to throw them off that a 16-year-old is taking calls, meeting with contractors and handling business purchases.
After that, they get intrigued.
“One out of four people in DFW who own a home put up Christmas lights,” Arora said. “So their second reaction is usually ‘Can I put up Christmas lights with you?’”
Arora, a Centennial High School junior, has founded a business that allows users to buy holiday decorations and work with a contractor to install them through an app. The app, “Workbee,” aims to “Uberize the holidays,” and to connect users with community-reviewed contractors, according to the business website.
Arora and his business partner Sarthak Dhawan, a Liberty High School junior, began making the app in December and first launched it in March. The project has since earned Arora designation as America’s Top Young Entrepreneur from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) national competition and has also resulted in the establishment of Sept. 21, 2021 as “Rudransh Arora Day” through a city proclamation.
Arora came up with the business idea for YEA!, he said, but he had seen the symptoms of a problem that needed a solution for years.
“A lot of my neighbors complained about this issue, and we’ve had not-so-good experiences with contractors where they wouldn’t do a good job or were very difficult to get in touch with,” he said.
The wheels in Arora’s head started spinning when one contractor put up half the decorations at his house, charged them for it and then didn’t return.
“At that point, I realized the gravity of the problem,” he said.
He figured he could make a business around it.
His interest grew as he went through YEA! experience, which included meeting with local entrepreneurs and learning how to market his business.
“I thought that it was a great opportunity in which not only I learned more about entrepreneurship, but just a more general skill set I can apply to a lot of aspects of my life,” he said.
Now, Arora said, his business involves working with four to five teams of contractors, and he’s looking to grow.
As the holiday season approaches, Arora said the app has already garnered over 1,000 downloads, and he expects sales to reach the thousands when the holidays come around.
Looking ahead, Arora said the goal is to add more features to the app and to expand its reach beyond the metroplex.
Arora said when he realized he had won the national title, he felt proud of how far the project had come.
“When I first started the program, I just wanted to learn more about entrepreneurship, but after realizing I had the potential to win, it really helped me develop my mindset that I can make this into a successful business,” he said.