Keeping true to the (app) dreams of your youth: An Awards Accelerator story by Essence

Cathrin Lemoine of Essence shares the company’s experience of acting as an Accelerator – mentoring some of our finalist teams – at the Apps for Good Awards 2015

The big day is finally upon us: ten inspired 13- and 14-year-olds from Sutton Grammar School for boys fall into UK House to hang out with us before they shoot off and wow the Dragons at this year’s Apps for Good Awards.

Fresh from announcing our 2-year partnership with Apps for Good to support them in their mission to grow a new generation of problem solvers, we couldn’t wait to get started. We shortlisted dozens of award submissions, powered the People’s Choice awards, sent three of our own to be Apps for Good Dragons and held numerous expert sessions with student teams in the UK and Spain, but nothing comes close to today’s events.

After a quick office tour and an obligatory round (or three) of foosball, the student teams – Stem City and Quick Team – had ten minutes to prepare their pitch, get their cue cards in order and update their app social media channels.

Stem City and Quick Team at the Essence office

Stem City and Quick Team spent the morning of the Awards with Essence

And there we were: the jaws of seven mock judges dropped to the floor listening intently to the presenters. There were branded business cards and cue cards, professional-looking presentations and videos, even live chemistry experiments. The cheeky and entertaining presentations of app concepts showed the two teams’ deep understanding of markets, audiences and trends and – perhaps most importantly – a vision for how their apps could change their worlds for the better.

The teams got to practice their pitches with Essence staff acting as mock judges

The teams got to practice their pitches with Essence staff acting as mock judges

We hear that the teams found our feedback very helpful to prepare for the official pitches but – truthfully – we learned more from the students than they claimed to have learned from us.

Here are two of our mock judges commenting on the presentations:

“The teams told us a great story, injecting humour and enthusiasm to make their ideas so exciting and compelling. I was especially astounded by their understanding of the market, their audience, and how to reach out to them; could not have done it better myself!” – Mark Barren, Head of Account Management EMEA

“Both teams told a compelling story. They were knowledgeable and authentic. You couldn’t ask for more. They were great.” – Andy Brown, Head of Business Development EMEA

It was an absolute pleasure to be an Awards Accelerator for this year’s Apps for Good Awards. The student teams certainly showed us a thing or two about pitching ideas, keeping your cool and – naturally – foosball.

Want to give your students the chance to reach the Apps for Good Awards finals next year? Visit our website and sign up to teach our free course in 2015/16.

Apps for Good Awards 2015: Shining a spotlight on students’ technical skills

The dust is just about settling on the Apps for Good Awards 2015 but we’re still excited by the quality and skill demonstrated by the student teams. During the Apps for Good course students build lots of tech and life skills, but today we’re focusing on some of the UX and marketing skills on show within the over 700 competition entries we received.

During the Apps for Good course, students learn that good user experience is one thing that distinguishes apps from their competitors. An easy to understand and natural flow is essential to provide a pleasing user experience (UX). During the shortlisting process led by our Judging Partner Capgemini, the entries below were among those that really impressed, with their well-crafted UX:

Spiritus, Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS), Dubai

The wireframes developed by the Spiritus team

The wireframes developed by the Spiritus team

iYoga, Latymer Upper School, London

iYoga helps people improve their yoga skills

iYoga helps people improve their yoga skills

 

Target Setter, Priestley College, Warrington

A glimpse at the wireframes for Target Setter app

A glimpse at the wireframes for Target Setter app

 Our shortlisters also saw some impressive pitch videos during the shortlisting process, but one of their favourites definitely came from the team behind ‘To Do’ from Sutton Grammar School in Surrey. Their video not only communicates what their app idea is about but does so in a fun, memorable way that encourages people to share – just like we recommend during the course.

Want to help your students develop key tech, digital & creative skills? Join now in less than 10 minutes to teach Apps for Good in 2015/16.

Innovative ideas are not solely from the big cities

Bob Schukai, Head of Advanced Product Innovation at Thomson Reuters reflects on the Apps for Good Awards 2015. 

It has been a week since the Apps for Good Awards ceremony, and I wanted to write a few thoughts in the aftermath of a wonderful day and school term.

Nearly 23,000 kids, from 700+ academic institutions completed the Apps for Good course this year, and 18 of the very best teams were selected as finalists for the Apps for Good Awards London. Each team that was in the Awards finals experienced the same thing that a startup faces: how does one convey an idea clearly and convincingly in order to get funded, which in this case, is the funding to have your app built and put into the Google Play or iTunes store.

Bob Schukai with One Click Politics - winners in Thomson Reuters Information category - at last week's awards

Bob Schukai with One Click Politics – winners in Thomson Reuters’ Information category – at last week’s awards

I don’t personally work for Apps for Good, but I feel as if this is my other “work family.” I’ve seen this grow from a small startup idea into something that has broadened my own view of the world.  And it is a great reminder of something we all need to keep in mind. The diversity of our schools and children breeds incredible diversity in ideas and teams which come to the finals. Can anyone genuinely believe that a school from Wick, Scotland has produced winners for three consecutive years? Try to get to Wick sometime from London: you fly to Inverness and drive for 2+ hours or take a flight via Edinburgh. It’s not easy. Wick is about as far away from London as you can go in the United Kingdom, in a very remote part of the country. And yet, they win. Innovative ideas are not solely from the big cities but can come from small communities like Wick.

I often mention this about Apps for Good, and I love repeating it. This is a programme that has achieved something rare: a 50/50 split of boys and girls taking part. That is breaking the mold for the startup and technology scene that is highly dominated by men. We won’t change the scene unless we change the game early on. It makes me exceptionally proud, as the father of a teenage daughter myself, to see an all-girls team win like I’m Okay did back in 2014. And what kind of confidence boost would a team like that get when people like Stephen Fry and Richard Branson talk about them and their project on social media!

This is such a remarkable program, and for me personally, it’s even more rewarding to see some of the kids come and join my team in London on work placements and internships. Their enthusiasm for apps and mobile products reminds my team and me once more about the joy we get in building great solutions for Thomson Reuters. I also can’t thank Thomson Reuters enough for supporting this initiative, especially now with the Fellows Programme: an opportunity for kids to stay engaged with Apps for Good after they graduate, so that they can tell their own stories to the next group of future entrepreneurs.  It’s one thing to hear it from a guy who has been doing it for a long time, but I think it’s even more powerful for new students to hear it from someone who has been there, completed the course, and can reflect on what it personally meant.

Emily & Alex who won with I'm Okay in 2015 attended the Awards as Fellows

Emily & Alex who won with their app I’m Okay in 2014 attended last week’s Awards as Fellows

With that, I’d invite you to consider the many ways you can become a part of the Apps for Good community.  Perhaps you might just want to get a feel for it by becoming an Expert. It’s easy to sign up and deliver helpful mentoring sessions in areas such as design, idea generation, marketing, business models, and pubic speaking.  They can all be delivered via Skype or Google Hangouts; or you can be a little crazier like I am and go visit schools personally. I do a bit of both and just find it immensely rewarding.

Perhaps you’d like to take a bigger role in corporate sponsorship. I would be thrilled to talk to you personally about the benefits we have seen at Thomson Reuters; you can reach me on Twitter via @iammobilebob or simply send me a LinkedIn request.

Congrats again to this year’s winners of the 2015 Apps for Good Awards and see you in the new 2015-2016 school term!

Press Release: Student entrepreneurs from across the country announced as winners in Apps for Good Awards 2015

22 June 2015:  The winners of the national Apps for Good Awards 2015 were announced last Thursday. The awards, held on 18 June at the Barbican in London, celebrated the next generation of problem solvers and digital makers: young people who are creating tech products to change their world for good.

At the awards event, 18 teams of students, aged between 12 and 19, pitched their app ideas to a panel of judges comprised of industry leaders in a bid to be crowned the winner in one of six theme-based categories. All teams also competed to be chosen as the winner of the People’s Choice Award in an online public vote.

The winning app teams are:

Category Winning Team School
Information

Powered by Thomson Reuters

One Click Politics

Gets young people tuned into politics

Wick High School, Caithness
Sustainable Communities

Sponsored by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

GardenKing

Learn about the plants in your garden and how to care for them

Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith
Connected Communities

Sponsored by TalkTalk

Sound Clash

Listen to music with friends across multipledevices.

Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith
Productivity

Sponsored by SAP

BOOKd

Take your reading beyond the classroom

Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Amersham
Learning

Sponsored by Samsung

My World of Atoms

Brings the periodic table to life

The Boswells School, Chelmsford
Saving, Spending and Giving

Sponsored by Barclaycard

Jobs 4 You

Find and apply for student-friendly local work

Priestley College, Warrington
People’s Choice Award

Sponsored by Essence

Who Cares?

Supporting young carers across the UK

Denbigh High School, Luton

Also at the awards, the Excellence Prize for Coding, which is powered by Facebook, was presented to Codecepts from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, in recognition of the technical skills demonstrated in their competition entry.

With the support of Apps for Good and their sponsors, the winners of the six thematic categories and the People’s Choice Award winner will now work with development agencies putitout and Gourmet Pixel to launch their apps on to the market in early 2016.

Debbie Forster, co-CEO of Apps for Good comments, “We’d like to offer our congratulations to all the winners this year! Once again, we’ve been really impressed by the careful thought and creativity displayed by the finalists, with all of the teams having worked exceptionally hard to create a product that can truly make a difference to their world. We’d also like to thank our amazing educators and experts who have helped all our student teams this year.  Our mission at Apps for Good is to encourage students to take an interest in technology, by showing them how can be used to solve real-world solve problems and drive change, and I really feel that that was reflected in this year’s entries. We’re very excited to see the finished apps when they are launched on to the market in early 2016.”

 For more information on the winning student teams and their apps, please visit www.appsforgood.org

~ENDS~

Notes for Editors

Impact Prizes

At this year’s awards, Apps for Good Impact Prizes were also presented to the educator, school, expert and fellow who had made the greatest impact in supporting the Apps for Good movement and student teams. This year’s winners were:

Category Winning Team
Educator of the Year David Talbert, Highgate Wood School
School of the Year Denbigh High School
Fellows of the Year Nancy Levy-Vegh and Rhea Patel, Highgate Wood School
Expert of the Year Sophie Freirmuth, Baguette UK

 Judges

The judging panel of ‘Dragons’ consists of high profile figures and industry leaders, with a panel of six different Dragons for each of the six thematic categories. These include:

  • Margaret Rice-Jones, Chairman, Skyscanner
  • Kip Meek, Senior Adviser, EE
  • Ricky Martin, Managing Director, HRS and BBC’s The Apprentice Winner 2012
  • Jemima Kiss, Head of Technology, The Guardian
  • Ken Olisa OBE, Chairman, Restoration Partners
  • Melissa Di Donato, Area VP, EMEA and APAC, Salesforce.com

Award Accelerators

Finalist teams are paired up with Tech City companies, spending time in their office to help prepare for their pitches. Our 2015 Award Accelerators are:

  • Essence
  • Eclipse Experience
  • Fluxx
  • Future Workshops
  • Moving Brands
  • SapientNitro
  • Seven Digital Consultancy
  • Shift Design
  • ustwo
  • Xactly UK
  • Youview

Impact Awards Partner: SapientNitro
Coding Prize Partner: Facebook
Judging Partner: Capgemini
Venue Partner: Barbican
Supporters: Uncorked
Official development partner: Putitout

 Apps for Good

Apps for Good is an education technology movement that is transforming the way technology is taught in schools, turning young tech consumers into tech creators. Apps for Good aims to unlock the confidence and talent of the next generation of problem solvers and digital makers: young people who are ready to tackle the 21st century workplace and are inspired to create new tech ideas that can change their world for good.

Working alongside educators Apps for Good has developed a free flexible course framework that infuses digital learning with teamwork, creativity and entrepreneurship. Students find a problem they want to solve and apply new skills to making a real life app, exploring the full product development cycle from concept to coding to launch in a way that brings the classroom to life.

Apps for Good partners with educators in schools and learning centres to deliver its app development course to young people 10-18 years of age. In the 2014/15 academic year, the programme has been delivered to over 25,000 students within more than 500 Education Partners across the whole of the UK, growing by 50,000 percent since launch in 2010 with two centres and 50 students. Apps for Good is a registered charity and is supported by partnerships with companies and foundations who share their vision of improving technology education. Corporate partners and sponsors include technology leaders Facebook, Google, Thomson Reuters, Barclaycard and Samsung to name but a few.

Apps for Good is currently recruiting schools to join as Education Partners for 2015/2016.

For more information visit http://www.appsforgood.org/

For Press Enquiries, please contact Mango Marketing:
Ruby Haider-Smith:ruby.haider-smith@mangomarketing.com
Elizabeth Moore:elizabeth.moore@mangomarketing.com
Telephone: +44 (0) 1932 829 077

Press Release: Finalists announced in national student app awards

Apps for Good, the free education programme dedicated to closing the digital skills gap, has announced 18 teams of students as finalists in the Apps for Good Awards, to be held on 18 June at the Barbican in London.

The national Apps for Good Awards celebrate the next generation of problem solvers and digital-makers, young people who are creating apps to change their world for good. The 18 finalist teams, made up of students aged 12-19, will now compete in one of six thematic categories for the chance to work with experts and see their apps come to life.

The final stage of the awards will see the 18 teams pitch their apps in front of a panel of expert judges, comprised of industry leaders and high profile figures, including, Margaret Rice-Jones, Chairman of Skyscanner; Ricky Martin, Marketing Director HRS & BBC The Apprentice Winner 2012; and Jemima Kiss, The Guardian’s Head of Technology. In the run up to the event, the students will spend time in the offices of some of the UK’s leading Tech City companies, acting as ‘accelerators’ they will support the teams as they prepare to face the judges.

The winning team in each category will then spend the following six months having their app professionally produced in association with major sponsors and app development companies, before being launched to the public in February 2016.

Shortlist for the Apps for Good Awards 2015 
Category Category Sponsor Finalist Teams
Information Thomson Reuters Finding Spoons, eID, One Click Politics
Sustainable Communities Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park GardenKing, Who Cares?, ProblemPals
Connected Communities TalkTalk Quick Team, Pen Friend, Sound Clash
Productivity SAP STEM City, Sports Watch, BOOKd
Learning Samsung My World of Atoms, Debate it, Arty-Fact
Saving, Spending & Giving Barclaycard Jobs 4 You, Pass it on, Penny-A-Mile

The finalist teams are also up for the People’s Choice Award, powered by Essence, which is selected by an online vote held from 9-18 June. During this time members of the public can vote for their favourite app at: appsforgood.org/vote.

Debbie Forster, co-CEO of Apps for Good explains, “We’d like to offer our congratulations to all of this year’s finalists! At Apps for Good we want to change technology education forever: to turn young tech consumers into tech creators and prepare them to tackle the 21st century workplace. Our course teaches not only digital skills, but also arms students with essential real-world skills such as teamwork, problem solving, confidence and resilience. The innovation displayed in this year’s entries demonstrates not just the potential for young people to succeed, but their passion to use technology to change their world for good. We’re looking forward to celebrating their achievements at the Apps for Good Awards, and wish all of the finalists the best of luck!”

The winning apps will be announced at the Apps for Good Awards Ceremony taking place from 7.30pm – 8.30pm on 18 June at the Barbican, London. This ceremony will be preceded by a Marketplace between 6.00pm -7.30pm where invited guests and members of the press will have the opportunity to meet the students and hear about their apps.

For more information on this year’s finalists please visit www.appsforgood.org/public/awards/2015/finalists.

~Ends~

Notes for Editors

Judges

The judging panel of ‘Dragons’ consists of high profile figures and industry leaders, with a panel of five different Dragons for each general category. These include:

  • Margaret Rice-Jones, Chairman, Skyscanner
  • Kip Meek, Senior Adviser, EE
  • Ricky Martin, Managing Director, HRS and BBC’s The Apprentice Winner 2012
  • Jemima Kiss, Head of Technology, The Guardian
  • Ken Olisa OBE, Chairman, Restoration Partners
  • Melissa Di Donato, Area VP, EMEA and APAC, Salesforce.com

Award Accelerators

Finalist teams are paired up with Tech City companies, spending time in their office to help prepare for their pitches. Our 2015 Award Accelerators are:

  • Essence
  • Eclipse Experience
  • Fluxx
  • Future Workshop
  • Moving Brands
  • SapientNitro
  • Seven Digital Consultancy
  • Shift Design
  • ustwo
  • Xactly UK
  • Youview

Other partners & supporters:

  • Impact Prizes Sponsor: SapientNitro
  • Coding Prize Sponsor: Facebook
  • Judging Partner: Capgemini
  • Venue Partner: Barbican
  • Supporters: Uncorked

Apps for Good

Apps for Good is an education technology movement that is transforming the way technology is taught in schools, turning young tech consumers into tech creators. Apps for Good aims to unlock the confidence and talent of the next generation of problem solvers and digital makers: young people who are ready to tackle the 21st century workplace and are inspired to create new tech ideas that can change their world for good.

Working alongside educators Apps for Good has developed a free flexible course framework that infuses digital learning with teamwork, creativity and entrepreneurship. Students find a problem they want to solve and apply new skills to making a real life app, exploring the full product development cycle from concept to coding to launch in a way that brings the classroom to life.

Apps for Good partners with educators in schools and learning centres to deliver its app development course to young people 10-18 years of age. In the 2014/15 academic year, Apps for Good has been delivered to over 25,000 students within more than 500 Education Partners across the whole of the UK, growing by 50,000 percent since launch in 2010 with two centres and 50 students. Apps for Good is a registered charity and is supported by partnerships with companies and foundations who share their vision of improving technology education. Corporate partners and sponsors include technology leaders Facebook, Google, Thomson Reuters, Barclaycard and Samsung to name but a few.

Apps for Good is currently recruiting schools to join as Education Partners for 2015/2016. For more information visit http://www.appsforgood.org/

For further information please contact:

Mango Marketing:

Ruby Haider-Smith: Ruby.Haider-Smith@mangomarketing.com
Elizabeth Moore: Elizabeth.Moore@mangomarketing.com
Telephone: +44 (0) 1932 829 077

Apps for Good Awards 2015 finalists revealed

Throughout May, during a three-week shortlisting process led by our Judging Partner Capgemini, over 700 Apps for Good Awards entries were whittled down to find our finalists. Today we are excited to reveal the 18 Finalists for the Apps for Good Awards 2015 on our website. This year we were once again impressed with the imagination and hard work that went into all the entries; selecting the Finalists was no easy task with so many great entries.

So what’s next for our Finalists?

For our Finalist teams, the focus is now on the 18th June when they’ll travel to London and pitch their app ideas to our panel of Dragons. Over the next few weeks the teams will be perfecting their pitches and getting ready to answer tough questions from our judges. There’ll also be the opportunity for the teams to hone their marketing and social media skills for the People’s Choice Awards vote from 9-18 June, the online vote where the public selects their favourite.

The Apps for Good finalists will travel to London to pitch their ideas to our 'Dragons'

The Apps for Good finalists will travel to London to pitch their ideas to our ‘Dragons’

The teams will be helped on their journey to the Awards by our community of Experts, who’ll be on hand to give the teams advice and feedback on their pitches. On the morning of the Awards, the teams will get to hang out in the offices of some of the coolest companies in Tech City to get some final coaching before their big pitch!

We’re looking forward to meeting all these teams in London on the 18th. Find out more about their apps here.

Want to enter your students in the Apps for Good Awards next year? Find out more about teaching Apps for Good in 2015/16 on our website.

Apps for Good Awards 2015 – complete your entry by 24 April

For everyone getting ready to enter the Apps for Good Awards 2015 the entry deadline is fast approaching – 24 April is the last day you can submit your competition entry. Entries are submitted via the Student & Educator Dashboard.

Need some extra help? Have a question about how to enter? Why not check our video tutorial to see how to use these sections of the Dashboard, and you can also take a look at the FAQs and Planning for the Apps for Good Awards section on your Educator Dashboard to get all the information you need.

Enter now and you could attend the Apps for Good Awards 2015!

Enter before 24 April and you could attend the Apps for Good Awards 2015!

If you’re looking for hints and help be sure to check out our top tips on how to make an attention grabbing entry that stands out from the crowd. If you’re still looking for inspiration on how to get that Elevator Pitch just right, why not take a look at some of our favourites from previous years here.

Now that you have all the info you need, it’s time to get finalising those entries. Best of luck!

If you have any questions or queries about the Awards you can email us at education@appsforgood.org