7-18 August



Young People

20, aged 12-18


updating shortly...

ABOUT #AcornAccelerator2017

Acorn Aspirations is running a 2-week accelerator (7-18 August) where young people aged 12-18 will collaborate with mentors from London’s TechCity community to develop tech start-ups that tackle social problems in their local communities and worldwide.

#AcornAccelerator2017 will bring together teens in technology for a 2-week extravaganza of problem-solving and inspiration. We consider ourselves an “un-school” because we encourage students to operate in a way that, in most educational institutions, would be branded “cheating”: a combination of collaboration and independent learning. Teens leave with an angle of compassion that means they won’t just code for the sake of code; they will focus their passion to more useful ends. They will have gained skills in communication, delegation, pitching, adaptability and human-focused design – skills valued in any industry.


The skills gap is costing the economy around £63bn a year in lost income.’

- Digital Skills Report, 2016

‘Almost 50% of employers have a digital skills gap, which includes specialist technical roles.’ Digital Skills Report, 2016‘The benefits [of greater digital skills and inclusion] are huge. In this new report, in terms of productivity, there is a benefit of £358 million for individuals, and £243 million for government in additional revenue.’ - The Economic Impact of Basic Digital Skills and Inclusion in the UK , 2016

It is believed that young people lack soft skills:

‘Nine in ten employers believe job-seekers should focus on soft skills just as much as their grades… Yet 60 per cent of young people think businesses only care about academic grades’ - Duke of Edinburgh, 2017

‘60% of managers claim the new graduates do not have the critical thinking and problem solving skills’ - Forbes, 2016


At Acorn Aspirations we believe teenagers should be part of this technological transformation and have an opportunity to create technology alongside the most innovative minds and tech creators. We know that young people learn best when they are equipped with the right tools and environment that nurture their creativity. During our hackathons, bootcamps and accelerator programmes we explore A.I./Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and introduce young people to the most innovative and impactful technologies that are changing the world. Our latest hackathon attracted over 120 people with 40 teens having an opportunity to address one of the most pressing challenging of this current age: mental health. We explored Artificial Intelligence tools to address depression, anxiety, stress, phobias and more.

At Acorn Aspirations we design learning experiences that nurture entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity in young people. We develop future leaders - leaders that will be making tomorrow’s world a better place. We prepare young people for the jobs that do not yet exist. Young people that learn through our programmes WILL BE the ones to create those jobs.

Join us. Learn with us. Reinvent education with us!

Hackathon Keynotes & Workshops

Sanj Surati

The Original Digital Atelier

Sanj is an award winning multi disciplined Digital Creative with over twenty years of experience within the music, fashion and luxury industries.

Jonathan Kingsley

Professional Polymath

Jonathan is Software Developer for 5 years, although his interests have scaled to hardware, infrastructure, large-scale networking projects and even lighting design.

Min Teo

Vice President at Yoyo Wallet; Core Team at Techfugees HQ

Min is a storyteller, Vice President at Yoyo Wallet and Core Team at Techfugees HQ.

Jenny Dean

Head Of Client Services at Digital Whiskey

Jenny is Head Of Client Services at Digital Whiskey. She is passionate about educating and showcasing value to Professional Services firms, whilst taking the time to understand particular problems within the industry.

Ross Sheil

Growth Lead, Stripe

Ross Sheil is Growth Lead for Startups at Stripe focused on nurturing and growing the startup ecosystem in the UK to ensure startups are set-up for success as they scale their business on Stripe.

Joyeeta Das

CEO and Founder, GYANA

Joyeeta is an entrepreneur, techie and Tedx speaker. She is CEO and Founder of Gyana – the award winning AI startup.

Alex Sullivan

Founder & CEO,

Alex is a Founder & CEO for - an AI powered Property Search Agent that gets to know you to find you the perfect place to live.

Natasha Lytton

Head of Marketing and Communications, Seedcamp

Natasha is an expert in brand development. She speaks regularly about brand building, reputation management and storytelling.

Alvaro Sanmartin Cid

Head of Growth, Skills Matter

Alvaro is Scale-up co-founder and Head of Growth at Skills Matter. He worked as a growth manager at Udacity; co-founded & managed two Ed-Tech startups in the past.

Nare Vardanyan


A.I./ML entrepreneur/investor and advisor. Analyst at London Co-Investment Fund.

Itay Pincas

Founder of Joy2Day & TeenCrew

Israeli Teen Entrepreneur, TEDx Speaker; Forbes 30 Under 30; Mobile Apps Developer, Digital Adviser, Speaker and Startup person. Founder of @Joy2Day and @Teencrew

Elodie Draperi

Co-founder, GiveVision

Elodie is co-founder of GiveVision, which is on a mission to give greater mobility and independence through technology to people suffering from sight loss.

Emma Zangs

Co-founder, Metaspeech

I co-founded Metaspeech to develop an approach to body-awareness that empowers entrepreneurs, innovators, and their teams to exploit their superhuman powers for good.

Matthew Celuszak

CEO, Crowdemotion

Matt leads award winning company CrowdEmotion that is collecting and curating the world’s emotions to further human understanding.

Ariel Horn

Product Manager, Skills Matter

Ariel is tech savvy Product Manager at Skills Matter. She is Education Product Manager of nearly 1000 events each year globally.

Sam Christey

Founder, Rising Global Partners / Plant for Peace

Change-maker. Founder of Rising Global Partners; Founder of PlantForPeace; went planting pomegranates in Afghanistan as a peace initiative working with DFID and international businesses to drive development within the Afghan farming sector.

Cathy White

Founder, CEW Communications; GeekGirls Meetup

Before founding CEW Communications, she was Head of Communications for Tech City UK, which accelerates the growth of digital startups and skills in the UK, and previously Communications and Marketing Manager for Seedcamp, the first round fund that invests in pre-seed and seed stage tech startups.

Max Kelly

Managing Director, Techstars

Max is currently operating as the Managing Director of Techstars London – the world’s leading accelerator programme for early stage start ups. Prior to that, Max spent 12 years at Virgin where he was responsible for the strategy of the group and for starting new companies, four of which

Andy Ayim

Product Manager, First World

Andy is a Product Manager at London based Fintech company, World First. He brings along nearly 7 years of experience as a practitioner working globally in Hong Kong, China, South Africa, US and the UK working with Corporates, VC's and Startups. blogs as an advocate on Tech Inclusion at



Lorena Szerman

VP Sales at Soma Analytics

A dynamic and goal-oriented executive with strong entrepreneurial and leadership skills, Lorena has 16+ years track record in international sales, marketing, product management and business development

Tanya Laird

Founder, Digital Jam

Tanya has been at the forefront of emerging creative technology spanning games, film, TV, comics, music, immersive theatre, Transmedia VR, AR and AI.

Marte Borhaug

Global Head of Digital External Communications, Aviva

Specialties: Digital; Start-ups; Responsible investment; Corporate Social Responsibility; Social business; Communication

Ankur Banerjee

Tech Lead, Accenture Liquid Studio

Ankur is Tech Lead at Accenture UK’s Emerging Technology Liquid Studio team, where he works on projects on artificial intelligence and digital identity.

Tabitha Goldstaub

Co-founder, CognitionX

Tabitha is a serial entrepreneur and founder of CognitionX - ‘A Search Engine for All Things A.I.’.

Gary Stewart

Director, Wayra

Gary Stewart is the Director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK). Gary co-founded, a Barcelona start-up that raised over €4M in funding before being sold to an Australian competitor.

Pete Trainor


Pete Trainor is a digital designer, bestselling author, accidental polymath, mental health campaigner and founder of Nexus CX in London. He talks all over the world on data driven technologies and the effects on their audiences.

Sponsors & Supporters

Become a sponsor


We do not provide laptops, so please bring your own.
YES! We will provide lunch 🙂
Acorn Aspirations is a social impact company, which aims to inspire young people aged 11-19 into the world of technology and entrepreneurship. We are on a mission to bridge the digital skills gap and nurture the next generation of digital talent to fill the jobs required by the tech industry.  
GSMA, The Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, London EC4N 8AF
You will learn how to turn your ideas into a basic working version. Things you'll learn:
  • How to decide which of your ideas are worth working on
  • How to decide what features the user needs to get them from A to B
  • How to sketch your ideas
  • How to build your idea using rapid prototyping tools
  • How to pitch your idea
  • Basic coding skills & UX - HTML, CSS and Android studio
Awesome! Send us an email to 🙂

Podcast: Emily Atkinson, Director of Girls In Tech; Cathy White, Director of GeekGirls Meetup; Elena Sinel, CEO of Acorn Aspirations, Mike Butcher, Editor-at-Large of TechCrunch