Belfast teens claim top prize in tech pitch competition

Four teenagers have claimed the top prize in a technology pitching competition.

 

The collective team of Martyna Eron from Wellington College, Gráinne Camplisson from St. Louise’s College, Ryan Bell from Hazelwood Integrated College and Jess Bell from Active Communities Network were the winners, having impressed the judges with their novel concept. They will now have the opportunity to undertake a VIP journey to Dublin to meet with some of the world’s biggest companies in the tech sector.

 

The foursome took the top prize in Digital Futures, a programme organised by Digital DNA, which assists 40 teenagers aged 16 – 18 years old in realising their potential and the opportunities available to them within the digital and tech sectors, as well as encouraging them to make a positive impact in their community.

 

Gráinne Camplisson explained the team’s winning concept:

“Our idea centred on mental health issues affecting teenagers. We believe that the development of an app that would help young people navigate the consequences of their actions would be an extremely useful tool.”

Conor Houston, Head of Engagement for Digital DNA, said:

“The importance of technology in today’s world is continually highlighted – and rightly so. It is encouraging to see a collective of individuals band together to pitch in front of not only their peers, but industry professionals, and express themselves and their ideas. The digital and tech world has been able to bring an incredible wealth of opportunities right to the doorsteps of our young people.

 

“It’s through our Digital Futures programme that we will help empower these young people to realise their potential and make a positive impact in their community. We’re incredibly excited to be involved in creating such a diverse and impactful programme for young people, no matter what background they’re from.”

 

David Ibsen, Executive Director, Counter Extremism Project, said:

“Congratulations to Martyna, Gráinne, Ryan and Jess. Their pitch about was truly inspirational and I hope to see it come to fruition someday! Mental health is such an important part of our young peoples’ wellbeing and it is refreshing to see these teenagers take it seriously.

 

“Technology has been successful at connecting people but unfortunately, it is also a medium that can be misused to spread hate and violence. If we really want to empower young people in a positive manner, we need to make sure they can do so in a secure environment. Through our work identifying and flagging harmful content online and Digital DNA’s work engaging communities, I believe this can be achieved.”

 

The Digital Futures programme is principally supported by the Counter Extremism Project in New York, as well as being supported by the Housing Executive and Belfast City Council.

 

Those undertaking the programme had the opportunity to meet with potential employers, including PwC, and Digital Futures will be assisting them with further work placements and career opportunities.