Sixteen-year-old Vancouver student Aanikh Kler has been speaking to other kids about pursuing and developing their ideas in the wake of his Dragon’s Den appearance, where he scored a deal with Arlene Dickinson on his ringtone app, UndrTheRadr.

On Tuesday afternoon, he spoke to about 25 teens at the City of Surrey’s first Teen Hackathon at City Centre Library, where students brought their laptops, tablets and smartphones to try and use open data available online to design a useful app for the city.

“Part of my [public] speaking is I get to see all the amazing things cities and schools are now doing to help foster innovation and ideas,” said Kler. “I think an event like this where you have people that know so much about apps and creating them can help piece the idea and the technical aspect together, which will actually help in creating apps going forward.”

Also at the event were representatives from Microsoft and Mozilla, the company that created the Firefox browser, as well as Surrey’s geographic information systems manager, Sean Simpson, who said that the aim of the hackathon was for youth to start thinking about ways they can develop technology to help others.

“We want to get them involved in social issues and civic issues and try to make them civic-minded. We also know that teenagers never leave a smart phone; it’s always in their hand,” said Simpson. “We want to try to connect them with issues that are civic issues, with technology. So today we’re trying to connect the dots for them.”


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