The Duke of York has revealed the three winners of the 2015 ‘inspiring Digital Enterprise Award’ (iDEA) in a ceremony at St James’s Palace on Monday afternoon.
The successful business startups will now each receive £15,000 of investment to develop their business concepts, with professional support and mentoring coming from the likes of Facebook, Microsoft Venture and Barclays.
The winners, Learnerlane, Candle Path and Yoma Education, were all selected by a high profile panel of judges after an initial pitching session, where 10 teams went head to head to present their business ideas.
Learnerlane, dubbed the ‘match.com for tutoring’, is an online platform which helps parents and students to find local tutors which cater for their specific learning requirements.
Candlepath uses advanced algorithms and open data to protect users from taking unnecessary risks – finding the “safest routes” using crime statistics, street lighting and other factors.
Yoma Education’s winning idea was an app which acts as a virtual teaching assistant to support autistic children to learn alongside their peers.
Each of the winning ideas was created by young entrepreneurs aged 14 to 25 and Prince Andrew commented on their success at Monday’s ceremony, saying:
“Before you today are some really remarkable people.
“Much of what we do in education today is about problem-solving and that’s what these young [entrepreneurs] are doing here. I believe that these young people are the future of what we want to achieve.”
“Never be afraid to have an idea, or many ideas!” The Duke added, as a general message to anyone considering starting a business.
The iDEA initiative was started by Prince Andrew, in partnership with the Nominet Trust, in 2014 as a way of supporting young people to build skills in the digital and enterprise arenas. Ian Livingstone MBE, Eileen Burbidge of Passion Capital and Annika Small of the Nominet Trust were all judges on the panel this year, which saw over 700 young people contribute to the scheme.
The co-founder of Learnerlane, 22 year-old Seun Debiyi, commented on his team’s win:
“iDEA has been a fantastic competition – we’ve had great mentors and amazing training along the way. We’re now going to use the funding to get more customers, build out the products and we’re coming to London.”
Photo Credit: The Duke of York 2015