20-year-old James Whelton named Internet Hero at the Spider Awards

2 Nov 2012

Entrepreneur James Whelton

To top what has been a remarkable year for 20-year-old entrepreneur James Whelton, the co-founder of the CoderDojo movement, he was last night named Internet Hero at the Golden Spider Awards in Dublin.

Whelton has recently been awarded €200,000 from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and has also been named an Ashoka fellow as part of which he will also raise a further €100,000. As a result, he has formed his own foundation, the Hello World Foundation, which aims to help other tech initiatives and integrate them with the Irish education system.

Whelton gained international renown as the first person to hack the iPod nano at the age of just 17.

He has been coding and designing websites since the age of 13.

Last year, he and entrepreneur and investor Bill Liao founded CoderDojo to address the lack of computer education in Ireland.

There are now 104 dojos happening every Saturday afternoon (41 in Ireland) in cities from Dublin to Florence, and Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, London and Chicago. New ones are sprouting up in Jamaica and Africa.

On any given Saturday, an average of 6,000 kids between the ages of seven and 17 in Ireland and around the world are teaching each other how to write code.

Tomorrow at Intel’s campus in Leixlip, Co Kildare, CoderDojo will hold the first ever ‘Coolest Project Awards’ at an event that is expected to be attended by more than 150 delegates.

The full list of winners at the 2012 Golden Spider Awards can be accessed here.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years