App to manage student finances is a hit with judges in teen pitching challenge

An app created to assist students with their personal finances has scooped first place at an innovative pitching competition designed to challenge Glasgow teenagers to come up with their own creative digital start-up idea.

PA was created by Daniel Marshall and John Yogathas, two 17 year olds from Glasgow, who were students of the RookieOven Academy, a six-week start-up school that gives 16-18 year olds the chance to develop digital, marketing and entrepreneurial skills. Students devise their own digital product idea and at the end of the course they pitch their concept to industry experts.

The judging panel saw huge potential in the way the PA app offers guidance on finances and budgets to first time students living away from home. Interesting features included the ability to analyse outgoings to identify areas where a user is overspending and offering advice on how to spend money and manage a budget.

Other apps in the Dragons’ Den style competition included ‘WalkSearch’, an offline local information source for walkers, tourists and cyclists, and ‘APPetit’, an app that helps students reduce food waste and be healthy by providing recipes and fitness information.

The prize included access to AWS Activate, Amazon Web Services’ official program for start-ups, which offers benefits including free access to training courses and business support.

Michael Hayes, founder of the RookieOven Academy, said: “Our aim for the Academy is to unleash the talent of our school pupils and to encourage them to consider a career in Scotland’s tech sector. The young people who completed our first course in the summer came back as part of the mentoring team this time and were really inspirational.

“We were blown away by the creativity of the pupils who took part and are excited by the incredible talent and innovation they have shown. We hope to launch the Academy again in the New Year so that we can continue to nurture and support the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.”

Claire Scally, joint managing director of Glasgow-based TRC Media and one of the competition judges, said: “I was really impressed with the talent, ideas and enthusiasm on show from all of the participants. The RookieOven Academy is a great initiative and we were delighted to meet the digital champions of the future.”

By involving industry practitioners, the Academy hopes to provide its pupils with practical business insights, technical nous and the confidence to push their creative ideas to the limit.

Skills Development Scotland and Glasgow City Council provided support for the RookieOven Academy.

David Martin, Key Sector Manager for Creative Industries at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: “The calibre of these pitches shows just how much pupils of the RookieOven Academy have learned in their short time there.

“Initiatives like these reflect the fact that succeeding in today’s creative marketplace requires innovative, market-savvy ideas along with the skills and abilities to turn ideas to market. This lies at the centre of the Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Creative Industries, which was published last year and intends to support and encourage creative initiatives that help young people find pathways into the sector.”

The course is hosted at the RookieOven tech incubator in Govan.

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