M1PC and Coderdojo initiative hoping to attract teenagers and particularly young women into financial technology

RTE news, 9 November 2019:


On Saturday, 9th November, teenagers had an opportunity to see and hear how Drogheda students are taking a leading role in developing Fintech solutions as the local Fintech CoderDojo launched their new website www.Bepaysmart.org , alongside local innovators from the Makes Cents team and Phase Innovate Galtech. The launch took place at The Mill Enterprise Hub in Drogheda which is the lead organisation fostering the M1 Payments Corridor initiative to create a Fintech Cluster of companies from Dublin to Belfast, working alongside industry partners such as Paypal, Vesta Payments, and Yapstone.

CoderDojo aims to enable young people worldwide to create and explore technology together. The theme of this CoderDojo is Fintech and Digital as the crew of 12 to 17 years olds will work on projects relating to payments and fintech. According to Breanndán Casey, Innovation and Enterprise Manager at The Mill, “the projects will need participants with different skills including coding, project management, and digital communication. For example, it takes one set of skills to set up a website or app, and then it takes a very different set of skills to generate content (text, graphics, animation & video), and publicise the website or app. Our next session is here on Nevember 23rd and we’re looking for new members to join the free programme and are particularly interested in attracting new female members as it’s vital that more females enter the technology sector ”.

The three Drogheda teenagers behind the ‘Makes Cents’ prepaid card for eight to 18-year-olds which has seen over 3,000 accounts created since its inception last March also spoke on the morning. The card was created by three 16 years old students – Eva Barnett, Leah Keogh and Louisa Woods at Sacred Heart school Drogheda in partnership with Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) in Meath and won the National Student Enterprise Awards competition in 2018. The Makes Cents Prepaid cards allow Parents to monitor their Children’s expenses whilst also encouraging and teaching them to manage their money and has seen over €200,000 spend on them since its launch.

In addition to the Make Cents team, Evelyn Nomayo of Galtech Phase Innovate, accompanied by her team of Teenage Technologists and App Developers, gave an overview of the apps they have developed in 2019. “We inspire girls to develop interest and confidence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through hands-on activities, participation in local, national and international challenges, and positive female role models. Our goal is to reduce the gender gap in STEM fields by empowering girls to create innovative solutions to advance equality in their communities and to prepare them for tech careers. The GalTech programmes are delivered nation-wide as after school programmes through the help of mentors and Garda vetted volunteers”.

During the course of the event, attendees heard of the CoderDojo work completed to date and saw examples of successful technology projects completed by teenagers. Alan Donegan, a mentor at the Dojo commented  “Technology is a vital part in today’s society and this is an opportunity for teenagers to whet their appetite, explore new skills,  and develop the skills they already have in a fun and team environment. We look forward to seeing new members on November 23rd”.