Focused on the future, Gabriel Penton probably doesn’t need roads where he’s going. The young entrepreneur is paving his own way.
Clearly career-oriented at 15, the Cape Coral High School junior wants to inspire other students to succeed by giving them financial, business and investment knowledge to reach their goals and dreams.
Penton has organized the Golden Hours Workshop, where the next generation of leaders can learn inspirational tips for success from his high school’s Cape Capital finance club and real-world advice from a panel of female entrepreneurs. The event will be 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the Cape Coral High School auditorium.
“Our goal is to inspire young entrepreneurs across the country,” Penton says. “It’s going to be a momentous experience that I can’t wait to share with everybody.”
Penton is the business manager for the Cape Coral High School newspaper and CEO of Teen Tycoon, a personal blog that’s an offshoot of the Cape Capital finance club he founded as a partnership with the Young Investors Society. He hopes to motivate students who have the drive and passion to reach higher levels with hard work and perseverance.
“I really consider this an opportunity. If I can just inspire one person that would really be enough for me,” he says. “I want to use Teen Tycoon now to show a vision for what tomorrow could be.”
While most kids his age spend most of their free time playing Fortnite or other online video games, Penton reads a lot. He has liked books since the third grade. “I like learning,” he says.
His entrepreneurial streak started around age 13, thanks to encouragement and examples from his parents, who own a surveying and engineering company in Fort Myers. “I came from a legacy of entrepreneurs,” he says. “The majority of my success is thanks to my dad, Alejandro, and my mom, Gabi. They are the most hardworking people I know.”
His Venezuelan grandmother, who invested in real estate and had a piano school and clothing boutique, also is a notable role model for him. “She’s always been a really important person in my life,” he says.
Penton’s next educational goal is to study business at the University of Miami. While he’s not sure exactly what his post-college plans will be, he already knows he’s going to revolutionize a lot of industries. “I haven’t achieved even 1% of my potential,” he says.
During the first 45 minutes of the Golden Hours event next week, students from Cape Capital will direct a personal finance, investing and business workshop to teach basic principles and share local opportunities. Following the workshop, Penton will host a guest speaker panel of 12 successful female entrepreneurs he has networked with in South Florida.
“Our goal is for them to share their visions, lessons and teachings to our future generation of leaders,” he says. “These women have all had a history of success and entrepreneurship, with stories of hard work, that serve to inspire the leaders of today.”
The notable women invited to participate include Candace Decker, owner of the Decker Group of eXp Realty; Melissa de Mata Reyes, owner of GM Creative; Linda Donnelly, founder and owner of ROI Development; Yilenys Echevarria, owner of the Legal Room Inc.; Mayra Joli, owner of the Joli Law Firm; Perla Lichi, founder and owner of Perla Lichi Design; Maria Penton of Galldo Group; Mayela Rojas Sanchez, founder and CCO of AMAzed ID and Media Vista Group, Astrid Shover, Realtor at Marzucco Real Estate; local restaurateur Sandra Stilwell, founder and CEO of Stilwell Enterprises; Cynthia Valenti, mortgage lender at Regions Bank; and Adriana Vargas Hernandez, vice president of sales at Acqualina Residences.
“This will serve to show not only how involved the community is in Southwest Florida but also the success that local high schoolers can have when they have an idea and collaborate to bring it to life,” Penton says. “The event is really going to be something memorable. It’s going to be my legacy at the school.”
Are we seeing the genesis of the next Bill Gates or Elon Musk? Perhaps. Penton is on a mission and undoubtedly has the ambition, drive and passion to succeed.
“The quote I live by is, ‘Shoot for the moon because, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,’” he says.