25-Year-Old Solution Provider Exec Works To Inspire Next Generation Of Entrepreneurs

Carlos Perez

Carlos Perez was only 17 years old when he started his first help-desk business. Now, just eight years later, he is running a successful cloud services and IT infrastructure management company.

Perez is principal and founder of Perez Technology Group, a Hartford, Conn.-based solution provider delivering cloud and IT infrastructure services to small and midsize businesses, primarily marketing firms and law offices. The focus and differentiator for the company, Perez said, is to deliver enterprise-grade solutions down to the SMB market. In particular, Perez Technology Group helps SMB clients be more productive, reduce costs by up to 35 percent, automate, design their networks, become BYOD-friendly and secure their environments.

At 25 years old, Perez is one of the younger leaders in the channel, but he said he doesn't let that stop him when approaching new clients or executing on projects. He said he lets the company's track record and certifications, such as being a Microsoft Certified Partner, speak for themselves.

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"For any business, you have to make decisions based on the data sitting in front of you. The data sitting in front of [the clients] is very strong and very convincing," Perez said. "I can provide them the paperwork and the proof that we know what we're doing, and we have a proven track record in many different industries."

Perez Technology Group started as a help-desk type of business, where, at 17 years old, Perez would get paid to fix laptops. The help-desk business was part of an entrepreneurship class required at his Hartford high school in his junior year, part of a larger program from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that works with educators in underprivileged areas to promote business learning. In the class, students usually write a business plan, calculate financials, build sales projections and present before real investors.

As the business continued to develop in the following years, Perez said he recognized the need for cloud and services in the market and decided to focus the business on cloud services going forward. The approach is working, he said, with a "great amount of growth" over the past few years, although he declined to give exact numbers.

This week, Perez was recognized for his success as NFTE's Youth Entrepreneur of the Year at an event in New York. Dori Wolfson, NFTE New England regional program manager, said cases like Perez are the shining example of why the program exists.

"We're super proud of him. This is what I do NFTE for -- it's people like Carlos. We want to make sure that we plant the seed that there's this opportunity," Wolfson said.

Now Perez said he works to give back to the NFTE class that gave him his start in his Hartford, Conn., high school, giving advice and presenting at the company's showcases, like NFTE 2015 Global Showcase in New York on Wednesday. While Perez said he hasn't worked with any budding technology entrepreneurs, he said he has run into one app developer. Perez said he tries to advise and motivate students in NFTE about what it's really like to be an entrepreneur, both the good and the bad.

"I had people who were there for me," Perez said. "As an entrepreneur, I was fortunate enough to have those people. I want to give new entrepreneurs the same opportunity ... I wanted to have that big of an impact on them."