“I have managed very fast to do what I did, so I had a good story” for the contest’s judges in the new-business category, said Duston, a native of France. “I have hired 10 people, so I knew I had a good chance” to win, she said.
Her first product was cookbooks – for the iPhone, in languages including French, Dutch, Norwegian, Japanese and others. Duston has seen more than 200,000 cookbooks downloaded, at 99 cents each. She shares the revenue with Apple, which owns the online app store where the cookbooks are sold.
She’s ready to start making the cookbooks available soon for phones that use the Android system, reaching for a larger share of the mobile market.
Duston also has two other projects under way: one that offers children’s interactive storybooks for the iPad computer, and a nonprofit venture to help children in developing nations learn to read by using a smart phone.
Duston won her awards over five other finalists in both the new-company and technology-innovation competitions for women executives and entrepreneurs.
The Stevies for Women featured winners in more than 75 categories, and had entries from Canada, Asia and countries throughout the world.
She’s reinvesting her success from the cookbooks into about 10 children’s stories, with animated heroes and sound effects, that can be read on the iPad tablet computer in several languages.
Duston said she’s hoping a lot of children have asked for iPads for Christmas, because parents have been reluctant to give their iPads to children for play. The iPad storybooks are aimed at first-graders.
“It’s going to take time” for the storybooks to succeed, Duston said. “It depends on how many iPads Apple sells” and on whether people start buying more interactive books.
“That’s being an entrepreneur. It’s all about taking risks,” Duston said.
If the storybooks eventually take off the way the cookbooks did, Duston says, she plans to reinvest the earnings into her nonprofit venture, called iLearn4Free.
Next week, Duston will travel to Africa for a business conference with people from the World Bank and Nokia, which is a leading phone provider in the world market.
Her goal is to expand the storybook concept into developing nations where it could be used on Nokia’s smart phones to help youngsters learn to read.
“That is actually much more important in my eyes than the Stevie award, and much closer to my real values,” Duston said.