Last week I was invited to take part in two Young Enterprise Digital Industry Masterclasses in Lumem Christi School. Following a talk from a local entrepreneur, the kids had to then design an app or game and work out how they would finance, develop and market it. Each group had to complete a business plan and do a two minute pitch to myself and the other app buddies. It was really fun, both days were full of creative kids, brilliant app ideas and some great pitches!
Day 1 saw Padraig Canavan from Kofax giving a great talk on how and why he started his software development company. As well as being insightful, his brief history of computers (from taking up half a room to fitting in your pocket) was brilliant. His story about how 5 double glazers showed up for interview after he placed a Windows Developer advertisement was also brilliant.
Day 2 had Paul Brown, a former Lumen Christi pupil who now runs a media company as well as managing music acts, talk about how important it is to follow your dreams and enjoy what you do for a living, telling students, "You're not too young to do it!"
Here's a list of the app ideas presented as well as a note of the winners from each day!
Study Buddy - An app for students and teachers to exchange notes and start discussions about school work. Integrates with cloud storage for easy file management. Looking to partner with universities to help fund and promote the app.
Skinternational - An innovative beauty app, personalise with your own skin, eye and hair colour and get recommendations on what products and make up are best for you. Integrates with YouTube to offer tutorials on how to use the products. Looking to take advantage of a growing male grooming market, and planned 3 launch events at spas and beauty shops to reach target audience.
Shuffle - A handy management app for all your social networks, allowing you to quickly check all your updates in the one place. Especially handy for the limited time a student might get to check their mobile phone during the day. They worked hard to justify all development and marketing decisions by conducting their own market research within their group.
Snap & Compare - A quick and easy way to find products online and compare prices. Planning to integrate with eBay's search by image function to allow users to snap pics of any products and quickly find matches across the web. Planned to get sponsorship from big brands to get their products featured in selected searches.
V-Lapse - Another innovative way to use your phone to record special memories and automatically make videos to share to YouTube and social media sites. Users can set a reminder to take a picture at a certain time the create a video from all pictures taken. The group identified a few different target markets, new parents, gardeners, health and fitness gurus, and developed different marketing strategies for each group.
Bingo Wings - A just for fun app developed for older fans of bingo and puzzle games. A great way to open up technology to a market not traditionally targets by games, with a really fun presentation. Also focused on in-app purchases to increase revenue streams for the app.
I Can Calm - Want to ensure you don't send angry messages in the heat of the moment? This app will block you from texting or posting online for 5 minutes, and provide fun and distracting games such as darts, to give you time to calm down and avoid you doing something you regret. Designed to help prevent spur of the moment messages that could lead to cyber bullying, it was great to see students willing to tackle issues like this,
The Drop - A game were users can selfie to create a character which they then have to control as they dropped through a series of obstacles. Taking inspiration from popular game Flappy Bird, this game features simple controls but tough challenges to ensure that 'one more go' feeling keep users playing longer.
It was tough to pick only 2 winners from this selection so the app buddies and I asked if we could pick 3, and even that was tough. We eventually settled on:
Best Pitch - Skinternational
Best App - V-Lapse
Best All Rounder - Study Buddy
On day 2 we had:
Banter Bus - A racing game where the driver of a bus has to negotiate 3 lanes of traffic while collecting students. With a few objectives to complete along the way the game is all about getting the highest score. Integration with social media sites allows for sharing of scores, you can also challenge your friends to increase competition.
Moviemood - A cool app to help you decide what to watch based on your mood. With a few input choices you can easily filter content to avoid having to browse for ages and still not finding something you want to watch. They talked about how they would sell the app then drop the price after a time to help increase profits in year 2 and 3 of the business.
Gigglegram - A handy video editing tool for you phone that allows you use content already available to make jokes and funny videos. Integrating with Vine and other social media sites, this app allows videos of different lengths to be quickly uploaded to your own social media sites.
Demo Sound - This app allows bands and artists to manage all their own music for sharing on social media and with record companies. Additional revenue comes from charging record companies to access the content available allowing them to keep costs down for the musicians. This app was very well designed with loads of user friendly features. This was the most inventive pitch of the day with one student tearing up his speech and speaking to us from the heart about his brilliant app!
Instaworkout - A fun app to keep track of progress as you get fit, users can take pics of their progress, select from loads of workout videos and add content from personal trainers to keep track of all their health and fitness stuff in one place. Integrating with YouTube to offer additional workout videos, this would be a handy tool for anyone starting or already in the middle of a workout program.
Turn It Off - This app comes with a filter for sockets in your home to allow you to control plugs and power from your mobile phone. This stops the worry of wondering if you remembered to turn off the oven, or worse still, your hair straighteners, and saves you from burning your house down! As it was sold with the filter, this team was really conscious of price, coming up with ways of keeping it low to attract the most customers.
Buff Buddy - This app is for people who prefer to work out alone rather than at a gym, but still want some help and support on their get fit journey. Featuring an animated avatar that is customised to match the users appearance, and that changes as the user changes. There was also some great ideas to integrate with sports clothing brands to allow users to get digital versions of clothes they buy for themselves, further customising the avatar to look like themselves.
Again, the competition was tough and again we picked 3 winners instead of 2. Day 2 winners were:
Best Pitch - DemoSound
Best App - Turn It Off
Best All Rounder - Buff Buddy
Both days ended with Vincent from Invest NI telling the students how they can make their ideas into business. His inspiring talk of teenage entrepreneurs further enhanced the message that you're never too young to do something you are passionate about. And Invest NI can help - get in touch with them here - http://www.investni.com/
I would highly recommend taking part in the Young Enterprise Industry Masterclass, whether as a student who wants a chance to do something fun and creative in school, or as someone in the creative digital industries who wants to see how inventive students can be in such a short time. Both days were fun and full of creativity, I'm looking forward to the next one already!
For more information visit http://www.yeni.co.uk/