On Thursday 21 November, entrepreneurs, policy makers, members of industry and young people gathered for the TECY + InnoApps “Learning By Creating” event in Brussels. Hosted at the Royal Museum of Art & History, the day consisted of two parts: the TECY panel discussions on “Social Media, Networks & Search Engines,” “Interactive Applications,” and “Employers, Experts & Enterprises” and the InnoApps Huawei App Developer Challenge Final. The event opened with keynote speaker and European Youth Innovators Forum President Kumardev CHATTERJEE and a welcome from Sergej KOPERDAK from the European Commission’s DG of Education and Culture. Mr CHATTERJEE opened the day with a discussion of the challenges and potentials of youth engaging in technology as innovative entrepreneurs and problem-solvers. Challenges, he said, included skills mismatch, limited market access, and availability of risk financing but emphasised the large market potential, youth leadership and support.
TECY Panel Discussion
The panel discussion “Social Media, Networks & Search Engines” was comprised of Linda GRIFFIN from Facebook, David DEISSNER from Vodafone, Martin SAMAL from Seznam, and Mr KOPERDAK as a moderator. The group discussed the use of technology as a platform for learning from the use of social media as an innovative way to engage students to increased connectivity enabling the exploration of cloud-based collaborative learning. The second discussion, “Interactive Applications,” included Victoria EVA from Pearson, Willem-Jan RENGER from Dutch Game Garden, Katrjin FAKET from Adobe and Patrice CHAZERAND from Digitial Europe as moderator. “Digital learning is growing at an exponential rate” EVA said and discussed her organization’s effort to meet the growing demand for quality online learning. In his talk, REGNER encouraged the exploration of gaming as an effective learning platform. Adobe representative FAKET encouraged the young people and education to train for jobs that do not yet exist as creativity, resiliency, flexibility, high tolerance for risk and ambiguity thrive in today’s market. “Creativity matters more than technology. We in ICT view ourselves as enables. Highly efficient enablers — but enablers none the less,” CHAZERAND said. The final panel, “Employers, Experts & Enterprises,” was composed of Tony GRAZIANO of Huawei, Afke SCHAART of Microsoft Europe, Perre TORRENT of GSMA and Alexa JOYCE of European School Net as a moderator. The group discussed the challenges of finding competitive youth as employers. Ms SCHAART explained that though the dichotomy of high youth unemployment a significant demand from employers for ICT professionals. “Europe has a huge technology talent” Mr GRAZIANO said. While “there are very good people coming out of university,” many lack the technical aptitude needed for global tech companies. Bridging the gap between what is learned and what is needed in work force to develop local talent were among the discussed solutions. Significant time was left at each panel discussion for the panel to field questions from the audience. InnoApps Final Event: The second portion of the “Learning By Creating” Event was a shift from the theoretical policy discussions in the panel to the hands-on learning of the InnoApps competition. InnoApps, created in collaboration by EYIF, Huawei and Microsoft, was a pan-European, four-month app developing challenge for young Europeans with the theme of social inclusion. The five selected finalists pitched their apps before a panel and the audience for five minutes and then briefly fielded questions from the judges. The panel of judges were Elly Plooij-van GORSEL from European Internet Foundation, Arne HERKELMANN from Huawei, Ruud de Jonge from MICROSOFT, Maria Luisa FERNANDEZ-ESTEBAN from DG for Education and Culture, and Robert HOPMAN from Human Developers.
Tomaž ŠČAVNICARČ (Start) from Slovenia First Prize Start, by ŠČAVNICARČ, offers young innovators step-by-step support to developing an idea into a viable project with business plan guides options for collaboration and financing.
Elizabeth COTTON (CanEat) from the United Kingdom Female Developer Prize Struck the with challenge of planning meals out with people with dietary restrictions, CanEat by COTTON was developed to search restaurant menus for dishes that accommodate groups with single or multiple restrictions.
Natalia VICENTE (TagTag City) from Spain Runner Up TagTag City, designed by VICENTE, offers users an on-the-go link between business and potential customers. The app integrates existing Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews and uses physical QR code tags to link the virtual and physical presence of businesses.
Gregor SPAGNOLO (Wayupto) from Slovenia Public Award Developed as an simple way to connect event organizers, speakers and attendees, SPAGNOLO’s Wayupto provided a single platform to effectively communicate with everyone involved in an event.
Dawid CIESLAK (HintStorm) from Poland Finalist Aimed at university students looking to collaborate on projects, CIESLAK’s HintStorm provided users an easy-to-use interface to share ideas, document and pictures on a single platform.
The judges deliberated and returned with their conclusions. First Prize Winner ŠČAVNICARČ will receive 5000 EUR and development support. ŠČAVNICARČ, Runner Up VINCENTE and Female Developer Prize Winner COTTON will all go on a tour of China with Huawei. SPAGNOLO won the public vote and was presented with the Public Award. Additionally, all five finalists received a new Huawei phone. The evening concluded with a brief overview of the day and look at the central ideas discussed. Themes of the event included a greater collective European focus on providing the support needed by young people to become the innovators and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Through access to financing, entrepreneurship education, internship programs to become competitive in the global market and revitalize the economy. We would like to thank all our participants, speakers and partners for helping us make the TECY + InnoApps “Learning By Creating” event happen!