Inventive Sunderland College students are helping to lead the way in digital technology after winning a place in the second stage of a national competition.
The budding entrepreneurs travelled to London after their unique digital software ideas were chosen out of 700 submissions by external judges from big UK businesses.
iDEA (inspiring Digital Enterprise Award) is a joint initiative, organised by HRH The Duke of York and Nominet Trust, which supports 14-25 year olds in developing their ideas into successful digital business ventures.
The business students, made up of four groups, were invited to compete in the ‘Beta’ stage of the contest in London after impressing judges with their innovative ideas, ranging from apps which can be used to log crimes, to apps which provide personalised travel information and support teenagers in need of help and advice.
Held at Barclays Bank Headquarters in London, the ‘Beta’ stage gave contestants the chance to create prototypes based on their original concepts, and also included presentations from experts about marketing, web design and business tips.
The students were given access to industry standard equipment and worked alongside business professionals who helped them set up their own business models and offered advice about how to get their initiatives off the ground.
Leah Ramsey, a BTEC Business student, aged 18, said: “The event was very interesting and allowed me and my team to gain knowledge by listening to speeches about how to really sell your idea and how to deliver a presentation.”
The Sunderland College teams are among 200 groups who are now waiting to hear if they have made it to the the ‘live’ round of the competition, where each team will be given £2,500 to bring their ideas to life.
Judges will select three winners and each group will be awarded a cash prize and accelerator support to turn their concepts into real businesses.
Gillian Humphreys, Sunderland College tutor, said: “This initiative involved our students considering a business idea which would help teenagers to overcome problems they may encounter, and it really has been a fantastic opportunity for our young entrepreneurs on a number of levels.
“Their creativity has been capitalised upon and channelled, helping them to develop work readiness skills and thereby broadening our students’ understanding of the world of work through a number of discussions and hands-on activities.”