Founder Talks: What advice would you give our 20,000 students?

We are often told that while our course materials and approach are a vital part of Apps for Good’s success, it is our Expert Community of volunteers who bring it to life for our students. In refreshing our course content for this year, we built in more Expert sessions, enabling greater interaction between our Experts and students and more opportunities for our Experts to provide advice and insight to the teams.

But we decided to take it even further.

At Apps for Good, we are fortunate to have access to some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. We wanted to share that access with our students and teachers. So at this year’s Founders Forum, thanks to support from the Founders Forum for Good and Nominet Trust, we approached some key figures and asked them to share their “from the trenches” lessons for young people starting out. We were amazed at their enthusiastic response and inspiring answers. We filmed these interviews to create short videos for our Founder Talks series, which are part of the new course material for our 20,000 Apps for Good students.

We asked the Founders questions like: Is the value of ideas overrated? Is copying and improving other people’s products bad?  What was your experience like in school? Have you always known you wanted to be a founder?

Richard Branson talks about the choices he made at school and Scottish entrepreneur and billionaire Tom Hunter recounts his first venture selling shoes out of the back of a van.  Martha Lane Fox, serial entrepreneur and co-Founder of, says the best approach is to always be nice and assume the best of people. Ian Livingstone, author, entrepreneur and co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, insists, “Hold on to your IP, kids!”

To hear more from these Founders and watch the other Founder Talks with Michael Acton Smith of Mind Candy, Shakil Khan of Spotify and many more, visit the Apps for Good YouTube channel.

Special thanks to the Founders and to Nominet Trust and the Founders Forum for Good for their on-going support.

By Debbie Forster, UK Managing Director, Apps for Good