TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa teen got started early in life, working to make the future a brighter place through technology.
At 14 years old, Claire Barrow is sharpening her skills as an entrepreneur, as the CEO of Rare Guru, an app that connects those like her with people around the world who have been diagnosed with rare diseases.
"It's really surreal because I never thought that I would be doing something like this at 14," said Barrow.
She and her mother were both diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.
"I was going into seventh grade and, during the diagnosis process, it was really hard to find information about our disease and our severity case and find other people who had it," Claire recalled.
Entrepreneurs of all ages get help making their ideas become reality from Tampa Bay Wave. The organization's president and CEO, Linda Olson, said Claire's idea was a perfect fit.
"There are over 7,000 identifiable conditions that meet this rare condition category, and you think about how many people are affected by these rare diseases," said Olson.
Claire was selected for Tampa Bay Wave's Tech Women Rising Accelerator Program. She is the youngest CEO in the group.
"Entrepreneurs like Claire are going to get one-on-one coaching. They're going to get pitch coaching so that they're going to learn how to pitch their business, whether it's investors or prospective customers. They learn about the financing, marketing, all the aspects that it takes to make a business successful," said Olson.
Claire is excited for the opportunity to grow as a tech business owner, but she's most excited to help others like herself.
"By having somebody who is actually a teenage entrepreneur, not only can she inspire kids in our community to become entrepreneurs themselves, but the fact that this is a technology app means that she can also inspire kids to pursue careers in technology when they finish school too," said Olson.
Claire is seizing on a rare opportunity towards future success. Her business could be the beginning of something bigger.
"I'm so glad that something positive came out of the diagnosis in the process and it's just great to be surrounded by other women and I'm glad I can look up to them because they are older than me, but they're still my mentors and peers," said Barrow.
"To have an application like Rare Guru, I think that she's going to be impacting millions of people around the globe at some point," said Olson.
For more information about Rare Guru, visit https://apps.apple.com/us/app/rareguru-rare-diseases/id1497253264
For more information about Tampa Bay Wave, visit https://www.tampabaywave.org/