Ten trailblazing girls with a passion for technology are announced as the inaugural winners in the nationwide ‘InspiringJuniors UK’ competition. A recent government report found that only 1 in 10 STEM apprentices are female. A key barrier for girls is the lack of role models. These girls are incredible role models that are a true inspiration for others. InspiringJuniors UK is an initiative of InspiringFifty and Project prep.
InspiringJuniors UK judges are Dr Anne-Marie Imafidion OBE, founder of Stemettes (a not-for-profit that has supported over 38,500 young people to create a more diverse tech community); and Sarah Wood, co-founder of video ad tech company Unruly, named as the UK’s #2 Fastest Growing Tech Company and Janneke Niessen, tech entrepreneur and initiator of InspiringFifty and Project Prep.
Please find a short bio of the girls below and an full bio’s on ProjectPrep.
JOANA BAPTISTA, 16, Entrepreneur (Oxford): Joanna is the founder of three award-winning companies. She runs a free code club with Barclays and STEM workshops at underprivileged schools. Most recently, Joanna was a winner in the WeAreTheCity Rising Star Awards in the Entrepreneur category.
YASMIN BEY, 17, Computer Scientist (Southend, Essex): Her achievements have already seen Yasmin invited to speak at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy and named European Digital Girl of the Year in 2015. She also mentors younger students at school and helps them learn coding.
NIKKI CHRISTOU, 12, Influencer (London): Her YouTube channel ‘Nikki Lilly’ has over 370,000 subscribers. She’s raised £400,000 for research into her rare illness, AVM, and her accolades include The Pride of Britain Award for Child of Courage 2016. She was featured in the CBBC programme ‘Born to Vlog’.
SARA CONEJO CERVANTES, 17, Entrepreneur (London): Sara is part of the Artificial Intelligence Task Force, regularly wins Hackathons, and recently took part in the Alexa Bootcamp. She has accreditations from the Royal Institution and recently built AI with the ability to play smartphone games.
AVYE COULOUTE, 10, Maker (London): In 2018, Avye won the Coolest Projects UK award for her voice command robot, and was selected for the Young Coders Conference at the Tate Modern. She runs regular coding workshops and raised £1000 to give attendees of her Girls into Coding event free computer kits.
ANDREA DALISAY, 16, Girlboss (Surrey): Born in the Philippines, she topped her school’s GCSEs rankings despite having just moved to the UK. She engages with Coder Dojo, Stemmettes and Acorn Aspirations. Andrea created her own website selling STEM art and a chatbot that helps teens with their mental health.
ROSE DYSON, 18, Teentrepreneur (Barnsley, Yorkshire): Founded cruelty-free vegan lip care business, Pura Cosmetics aged 15. Rose was crowned UK National Young Trader of Year 2017, was scouted for Dragon’s Den by the BBC, and is the youngest ever person on the Yorkshire Business Insider’s 42 under 42.
LOWENA HULL, 16, Pi enthusiast (Portsmouth): Her code has been used on the International Space Station and she reached the finals of the European Astro Pi competition (2018). She attended the Cyber First Defenders Course, won at Scholarship at King’s College and mentors with Raspberry Pi.
LYDIA JONES, 18, Girl Boss (Liverpool): She founded her first start-up at 15, building a brand ambassador team of 140 influencers worldwide, and undertook Natwest’s Entrepreneurial Spark scheme. Lydia builds apps, runs popular tech podcast Thelydperiod, and works as a Product Specialist at Amplify Life AI.
KARI LAWLER, 15, Futurest (Birmingham): Kari was accepted to the Entrepreneurs for the Future scheme age just 14. She undertakes AI consultancy for start-ups and won the UK Space Agency SatelLife challenge 2018. Kari’s Youth4AI project encourages more young people aged 13-25 to explore artificial intelligence.