IN THE DRAGON’S DEN
On Friday 12 April 2019, Year 12 students - Declan Larkin, Mark Donnelly, Niall McAuley, Allana Campbell, Evelina McElhone, Beth Dixon and Helen Doherty - along with 500 other post-primary school students from across Northern Ireland travelled to Titanic Belfast for BelTech’s Education Day.
The day of inspiring talks and demonstrations highlighted the exciting prospects of careers in technology for both girls and boys and included a presentation from two Year 14 St. Mary’s students – Johm McElhone and Micheal McLaughlin – who were the BelTech EDU competition winners in 2018. The boys spoke about their efforts to design, build and market their CropSafe app and how winning the BelTech Dragon’s Den competition helped progress their idea.
The theme of this year’s BelTech EDU was Entrepreneurship. Pupils were required to create storyboard/prototype apps for consideration by the judges in the Dragon’s Den style competition. Out of four teams to make it to the final of the competition, two teams were made up of St. Mary’s pupils. Competing against a team from Rathmore Grammar School and one from Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Declan Larkin, Mark Donnelly and Niall McAuley presented their app called ‘WriteOnTrack’, while Allana Campbell, Evelina McElhone, Beth Dixon and Helen Doherty demonstrated their app which they named ‘Better Basket’. The pupils were certainly put through their paces as the ‘Dragons’ - Austin Tanney, (Head of AI, Kainos), David Thompson (Senior Manager Open Banking, Danske Bank) and John McCloskey (Lead Engineer New Ventures and Blockchain, PwC) questioned them on their developments.
While both teams secured cash prizes, the top prize was awarded to Allana, Evelina, Beth and Helen. The event was a huge success and illustrated to the pupils how exciting a career in the tech industry can be.
While both teams secured cash prizes, the top prize was awarded to Allana, Evelina, Beth and Helen.