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Finding the next young tech millionaire

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 02:46

May 23 - Young technology entrepreneurs have been the winners in several massive deals in recent months including this week's Tumblr sale to Yahoo. A UK firm has seen the potential. Freeformers runs a scheme to get teenagers creating computer programmes instead of just playing games. Joanna Partridge reports

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Could Britain's answer to Mark Zuckerberg be in this room? These young Londoners are learning the basics of how to write computer code. At the end of a one-day workshop, they'll have created their own Facebook app. And some will have got a taste for programming computers, not just playing games on them. That's what happened to Lewie Allen. He left school with hardly any qualifications. But attended a coding course late last year - and hasn't looked back. SOUNDBITE: Lewie Allen, Freeformers trainer, saying (English): "I don't think it was very hard for me to become interested once I started the course, and they start showing you the things you can do and how easily it can be done. It's a spark lighter, put it that way." Lewie now helps teach others - and he's building his own social networking app - which polls users' opinions. Social enterprise Freeformers runs the workshops. They also train employees from large companies. For every workshop place paid for by a firm - Freeformers delivers the same training to a young person, for free. Gi Fernando set it up. He sold his first entrepreneurial project at 21, and now wants to help the next generation. SOUNDBITE: Gi Fernando, Founder of Freeformers, saying (English): "We're kind of disregarding educational history to a certain degree and putting people on our own rapid, accelerated learning programmes. And we're finding that actually your academic background doesn't matter. What we need more of is sort of creative technologists, people who are solving real world problems." PTC: The British economy needs young entrepreneurs who have business ideas and are tech savvy. Coding courses are one way of preparing young people, for work in the new digital industry. 17-year-old Nick D'Aloisio became an overnight success story when he sold his news app Summly to Yahoo, reportedly for over 30 million dollars. Joanna Shields is CEO of London's Tech City Investment Organisation. She says Britain needs more Nicks. SOUNDBITE: Joanna Shields, CEO and Chair of Tech City Investment Organisation, saying (English): "Coding and entrepreneurship need to be taught at the same time. I think separating them is daft, it makes absolutely no sense, because if you don't know how that code becomes a product or could be involved in a service, it doesn't mean anything." Moss Qureshi is taking the course - so he can build the website for his graphic design agency. SOUNDBITE: Moss Qureshi, Coding course attendee and business owner, saying (English): "Knowing the back end stuff as well as knowing design, I'll be doing it all myself." Whether these young people use their new-found coding skills to build their own businesses, or to try and crack the tech scene - Britain's future entrepreneurs will increasingly be going digital.

Finding the next young tech millionaire

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 02:46

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