My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.


A Computer Business That Gives Back Through Tech Upgrades

Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
3 min read

This story appears in the February 2012 issue of . Subscribe »

It was not a good time for Miguel Torres' 4-year-old computer to give up the ghost. Torres, owner of Proremodels, a West Jordan, Utah, home remodeling company, was already strapped for cash when his computer conked out.

He poured $300 into repairs; it crashed again, and he couldn't afford to replace it. He got by on borrowed computers, but his tech problem was hobbling his business, leaving him unable to answer e-mail, issue estimates or create invoices in a timely manner. "It was a really bad time for me," Torres says.

Small-business backup: Inquo's John Stewart.
Small-business backup: inQuo's John Stewart.
Photo© Matthew Turley

One of his clients learned of his situation and introduced him to inQuo, a Salt Lake City-based computer repair shop. The company, founded by Lance Goodsell, had donated several computers to individuals and nonprofits in need. A few weeks later, inQuo employee (and donation program founder) John Stewart went to Torres' house to set him up with a refurbished computer and printer and make sure the internet and e-mail programs were functioning so he could get right to work.

Stewart estimates the goods and services inQuo provided would have cost Torres about $2,000.

Stewart launched inQuo's computer giveaway program when he learned of a local company that had several old computers sitting around after a tech upgrade. To keep them from being dumped in a landfill, Stewart and Goodsell took the computers and repaired them. Then, Stewart started donating the machines through a local nonprofit that helps refugee families resettle in the Salt Lake City area. "I spent time with the families. I got more out of that than I ever did running huge food drives when I worked for a corporation. It was so personal," Stewart says.

InQuo has since broadened the program's focus. They actively seek out recycled computers, as well as startups and struggling small businesses in need of equipment.

Number of refurbished computers inQuo has donated: 12

Number of Salt Lake City-based companies with fewer than 100 employees: 34,300

Number of IT/software companies in Utah: 3,650

The four-person company's biggest obstacle in expanding its donation program is time. College interns are doing the actual refurbishing these days, which gives them valuable experience while reducing the program's costs.

InQuo doesn't have set criteria when it comes to choosing companies that deserve donations. Recipients have included a student who wanted to start a Pampered Chef cooking business but couldn't because it required a computer, and a co-op farmer who needed a laptop to track his yields.

Goodsell sees it as a tiny economic stimulus program for his part of the world. "I'm a believer in karma. What comes around goes around," he says. "The more small businesses we can help, ultimately, the better the economy is going to be, which helps all of us out."

More from Entrepreneur

Amina AlTai teaches entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs how to balance a thriving career, body and mind.
In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur