15-year-old entrepreneur aims to teach tech to 600 kids this year

26 Jun 2014

Harry McCann, CEO and founder of Kid Tech

Fifteen-year-old CEO and founder of Kid Tech Harry McCann aims to make 600 fellow schoolkids proficient in web design and coding by the end of this year.

McCann, who studies at Scoil Mhuire in Clane, Kildare, has been coding since the age of 12 and has attended and mentored at CoderDojo since he was 13.

His company Kid Tech provides courses and workshops in computer game development and design, web design and coding.

Yesterday, he spoke at Future Creators, a programme aimed at 13-16-year-olds in Dublin’s Liberties district and called for improved digital education in classrooms in Ireland.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, McCann said 96 kids have signed up to be taught over the summer and the intention is to train 300 kids in Clane, Newbridge and Maynooth and surrounding areas by the end of the summer holidays.

“My aim by the end of this year is to have 600 kids trained in tech.”

McCann explained that Kid Tech writes courses, puts the courses which include notes and presentations on a memory stick, and teaches the kids through a series of classes.

He said he believes Kid Tech is complementary to CoderDojo, which teaches coding to 16,000 kids worldwide every weekend, rather than a competitor.

“I run CoderDojo in Clane, for example, and I would say we work hand-in-hand on a number of levels.”

What is an entrepreneur?

McCann’s energy and conviction have attracted plenty of high-profile support. TV star and businessperson Norah Casey has joined Kid Tech as a course adviser and other supporters include actor and presenter Stephen Fry and James Anderson from ThinkSpace.

Asked about his entrepreneurial instincts, McCann said: “I’ve always had an eye for it – there has always been a business theme in my family.

“Unfortunately, entrepreneurship is not something that is taught in schools in Ireland. In fact, there was a question in this year’s Junior Cert ‘what is an entrepreneur?’”

Seeing such a question asked in the Junior Cert was something of a surprise to McCann, who this year won a Junior Entrepreneurship Award and earlier this month The Huffington Post named him Young Entrepreneur of the Week.

He said his fellow school students would very much welcome practical entrepreneurship lessons.

“It is not seen as something boring or lame to run your own business, it’s seen as a cool thing to do.”

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