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UK’s next generation of app developers need business acumen as well as technical knowledge

UK’s next generation of app developers need business acumen as well as technical knowledge
  • App downloads and app advertising set to generate £449m in 2013.*

  • Next generation of developers “must be nurtured”.

SETsquared is hosting the South of England heat of the Microsoft Imagine Cup on February 15, bringing together young developers from across the South of England.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is a global student technology competition in which students from across the globe create their own apps for mobile, Windows or Azure in a bid to win a $50k prize at the finals in Russia.

The student developers will have just 48 hours to develop their app while on site at the University of Exeter Students’ Guild. The apps will be judged there and then and the winning three teams will go on to the UK final.

The partnership is also bolting on added extras to the event in a bid to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurial app developers. These include:

In an added twist, the former recipient of SETsquared’s Kauffman Scholarship, entrepreneur Alistair Shepherd, will use his company Saberr’s profiling technology he has created to attempt to predict the winners of the heat.

SETsquared’s partnership director, Graham Harrison, said: “The app development market is growing at pace in this country. If the UK is to establish itself as a world leader in this field and make the most of the opportunities, it must nurture young talent that is coming through.

“Of course app developers need the technical skill and knowledge but sometimes the entrepreneurial and business skills are overlooked. Young people need help to turn their ideas into profitable businesses and that’s why the support we are giving them, along with events such as the Imagine Cup, is so important.”

Chris Book, CEO of Bardowl and organiser of the openMIC network at SETsquared’s business acceleration centre in Bath, added: “The future of app development really is in this next generation. Big businesses will no longer be the ones creating new, clever apps, it will be small teams of graduates who are in tune with how people use apps and have less to lose financially.

“The hard part for these young developers is the business around it, which is why partnerships such as SETsquared are so important. It’s vital that organisations like this continue to give business mentoring, training and access to finance.”

Helping people turn ideas into profitable business is a key part of SETsquared’s work. A not-for-profit partnership, it supports university research ‘spin outs’, student enterprises as well as early-stage technology companies with high growth potential from the wider business community.

Among the app development and assistive technology companies it is currently helping through its incubation centres are:

  • Brain-in-Hand – which has developed assistive technology to help people who have impaired executive function of the brain to live independent lives.
  • Bardowl – which streams unlimited audiobooks to iPhones.
  • Omni Communication Products Ltd – which has developed private communications app, Apperture.

To find out more about the Microsoft Imagine Cup South event at the University of Exeter, which runs from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 February, visit: https://www.setsquared.co.uk/event/microsoft-imagine-cup-south-hackathonor follow @setsquared on Twitter.

*according to a report from mobile research specialists research2guidance.

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SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey