Innovation Birmingham-based 15-year-old digital tech entrepreneur Kari Lawler is set to pitch in front of UK Space Agency heads in June after winning the UK Space SatelLife Challenge 2018.

The Challenge was launched by the UK Space Agency, offering the chance for 11-22-year-olds to get expert advice around their ideas on how satellites can improve life on Earth. 

As well as being shortlisted alongside eight promising young talents from across the UK, Kari has been awarded £5,000 and has been recognised as the second youngest innovator within the finalists of the prestigious challenge.

Opening up opportunities for financial support, access to satellite data, resources and mentoring from industry advisors and experts, the pitch day is to be held on June 26th and will provide an arena for Kari to showcase her innovative ‘Capturing Earth’s Changes’ artificial intelligence (AI) proposition. 

Touching on machine learning, the ‘deep artificial neural application’ will analyse and digest Earth’s observation data, detecting patterns across the globe to identify the causes of natural disasters. 

Discussing her bright idea and the backing of Innovation Birmingham, the leading location for digital technology businesses in the West Midlands, Kari Lawler said:

“It has been great to be based on the Campus, the mentorship and community approach at the innovation centre has really helped create the spark for this award submission and other projects we’re working on.”

The youngest entrepreneur in the programme’s history, Kari was awarded a place on Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) business support framework in September 2017, having developed her interests in AI from the age of 13. 

Launching ‘Lawler Industries’, with additional business mentoring and support from her father Brett Lawler, Kari is now developing the start-up’s central project on Campus; bidding to launch a not-for-profit UK-wide youth scheme to make AI mainstream and accessible for all young people. Kari added:

“On the path to developing my core business, which is in AI consultancy, I’ve gained a great insight into how varied the general understanding of AI can be, which led me to think how I could improve understanding, especially within my own generation, as AI will play a major part in our lives. And so, the idea for a Youth AI Programme was born, with the sole aim to encourage more young people to explore and understand the world of AI.”

The youth scheme comprises a core programme of events and guidance, which sits alongside a designated website and set of learning tools. Brett Lawler, Mentor and Business Advisor at Lawler Industries said:

“By creating Youth4AI, the intent is to provide a platform to engage 13 to 25-year-olds into having a clear understanding of what AI is and how it is currently being used today; and just as important the effect it will play in their future. Additionally, we are working on adding learning resources, programming challenges, events and careers advice for those interested in exploring further.”

Alongside choosing probably one of the best tech hubs in the country, Innovation Birmingham, to call home to this nationwide programme, work is well underway on developing the online platform, launching Autumn 2018. In support of this, Kari has already started reaching out within the industry, seeking potential partners for advice, support and collaboration.

Submitted on 15/05/2018