The winners of the Apps for Good Awards 2014 have been announced and the successful young digital entrepreneurs have met with development teams that will help bring their apps to market.
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The awards, which took place at the Barbican, London, are designed to find and celebrate the next generation of problem solvers and digital creators through the creation of app ideas and learning how to pitch, design and sell them right through until launch.
The winning teams, one in each of six themed categories, were selected from a group of 18 finalists after pitching their apps to a panel of judges.
The winners are:
- Information (sponsored by Thomson Reuters): Stratford Girls’ Grammar School. App: I’m Okay – provides support for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
- My Planet (sponsored by Thomson Reuters): Budehaven Community School. App: ShoreCast – identifies the best nearby surf spots with the most favourable conditions.
- Connected Communities (sponsored by TalkTalk): Shireland Collegiate Academy. App: Crime Time – brings awareness to crime hotspots to increase neighbourhood safety.
- Productivity: Wick High School. App: Chore Attack – helps divide housework between families and housemates to get everyone doing their fair share of the chores.
- Learning (sponsored by Samsung): Hymers College. App: Crypto Connex – game that teaches the art of codebreaking.
- Saving, Spending and Giving (Sponsored by Barclaycard): The Wroxham School. App: Pocket Money Pig – pocket money manager for parents so they can manage what's been lent and spent.
In addition to the six categories, there was a People's Choice award, sponsored by Tech London Advocates, for the app that was voted overall fan-favourite on social media. The winner of this category was Sutton Grammar School for Boys for its Occasion Location app, which allows users to find, rate and promote venues.
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“We’d like to offer our congratulations to all the winners this year," said Debbie Forster, UK managing director of Apps for Good.
"The Apps for Good Awards are our chance to celebrate the innovation and hard work of all of the students in Apps for Good courses across the country, demonstrating the potential of technology to support learning.
“The Apps for Good course teaches not only the fundamentals of coding, but also skills such as problem solving, creativity and communication that are essential to success in the 21st century. The winning teams have demonstrated all of these skills and more, and we can’t wait to see the final apps launched on to the market.”
This year, the awards also recognised stand-out coders on the Apps for Good course, presenting two Coding Ninja prizes for students who presented the best working prototypes.
These went to:
- Tech Ninja (sponsored by the Nominet Trust): Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. App: School Advisor.
- Social Ninja (sponsored by Facebook): Dr Challoner's Grammar School. App: Battle Tables.
All winning teams met with their development agencies to start the process of developing their apps ready to launch in January 2015.
All-girl team Chore Attack travelled from Wick, Scotland, for the awards ceremony and to meet with development agencies. The team told Computer Weekly they were passionate about technology but said their love for designing apps did not stem from wanting to learn about the technical side of it: “We look at it as solving a problem, and technology just happens to be a part of that.”
Forster addressed the winners as entrepreneurs. “As entrepreneurs, you now need to know how to pitch to your investors. Sometimes you might get a 'no', but sometimes you might get the money, so you need to know how to deal with either answer," she said.
"The people you are pitching to are accelerators who want to make your idea the best. From now until your app launch in 2015 you will learn about pitching, marketing, PR, coding and learning both the tech and sales angles of your project.”
Zoe Coleman, an app producer at CDI Apps for Good, explained how winning app Cattle Manager from 2013 was in the process of releasing a second version, due to its success.
“From now on, you are the business owner and our partner. If something is not part of your vision, let us know,” she said.