In June I was lucky enough to be invited to the first Teen Tech Awards, at the prestigious Royal Academy. The TeenTech Awards are for UK students from 11-16 (Years 7 to 11) working in teams of up to three to look at problems large and small to see if they can find a better way of doing things. There is a prize of £1000 to the winning school in each category and the overall winners get to meet the Teen Tech Awards patron HRH Duke of York - so the awards are a big deal!
Before the awards winners were announced, guests could walk round an exhibition space where each finalist team had a stand to explain the nature of their project. Entries in the health category included amazing ideas for helping people with diabetes, with innovations including watches, pens and even patches to administer insulin. There were many impressive app designs, with one thirteen year old having coded a complete iPad application for their awards entry.
But the awards entry that really stood out for me was Thinkspace. As I walked around the event I was immediately engaged at the Thinkspace stand by young Oliver Bredemeyer who gave me a pitch that would have been a credit to an experienced sales professional. Backing this up was an impressive list of supporters that the team had already garnered, including Stephen Fry, Steve Wozniak and Richard Branson. I was given a professional looking business card, and that evening sent an invitation on LinkedIn!
A "Thinkspace" is a space in schools around the world where students can come and learn how to develop apps. Thinkspace aim to create a new culture around app development and want to give students as many chances as possible to develop the skills that they will need in the technology industry. Things have been moving fast since June: the construction of the first two Thinkspaces (in Plymouth and Northern Ireland) is now complete, and the team has launched a new site at www.thinkspace.co.uk.
If you work with a school or young people and know someone who would like to enter the awards in 2014, details of how to enter are online at http://www.teentechevent.com/awards/.
Managing Director of Softwire, technology and backgammon presenter. Plus a little bit of new music radio.