Aimed at encouraging the next generation of digital marketers to investigate the opportunities within digital, the Digital Disruptors Initiative has launched its 2019 programme. The likes of Snap, Facebook, Awin, Universal McCann, MTV Breaks, Found and Reverse Media Group all hosting bespoke inhouse workshops to give invaluable hands-on experience of social platforms, lens development, search tactics, mobile commerce, influencer marketing and online creativity. 

Following the launch, a structured schedule of mentoring with representatives from these companies now follows to help the young attendees get ready to showcase their own digitally-disruptive thinking in a Dragons’ Den-style pitch competition at PI LIVE this October.

“The Digital Disruptors programme is all about supporting and nurturing our next generation of digital pioneers. Over the next few months, we are once again giving another group of London-based teenagers direct access to some of our industry’s smartest brains and businesses, showing them the many options digital provides as a career choice and, most importantly, empowering them to think dynamically about the opportunities it brings to our everyday lives,” said co-founder Tina Judic.

On supporting Digital Disruptors and hosting the in-house workshops, the following companies shared their comments:

“Awin is proud to participate in the 2019 Digital Disruptors Programme for its second year, supporting another fantastic group of young adults as they enter into the world of technology and digital creativity. Nurturing young talent within the affiliate space is integral to Awin’s commitment to protecting the longevity and diversity of the industry. It is truly exciting to be a part of an initiative that is inspiring the future generation. Providing education and encouragement to make the most of the opportunities that lie within the digital industry lies at the core of our values, and our involvement seems like a natural fit,” commented Lisa Hammond, group marketing director, Awin.

“At Snap, we are passionate about giving our users the tools they need to express themselves and be creative. We are excited to partner with Digital Disruptor to help young people tap into their talents, realise their potential and explore the opportunities available to them in the future. The industry needs bright, creative and enquiring minds and we are delighted to play our part in empowering young people here in the UK,” commented Ed Couchman, UK general manager at Snap.

Susan Kingston-Brown, chief product officer EMEA at Universal McCann, added: “We were delighted to support Digital Disruptors with our partners from Viacom, hosting the groups to learn new skills and develop their digital knowledge specifically around the commercial world of influencer marketing. As an industry, we are making great progress in diversity and volume of strong entry-level talent, but we need more momentum for inspiring the new talent of the future. This programme brought us a really smart group of passionate young people who will definitely appear in our worlds again!”

“We’re excited to partner with Digital Disrupters to give more people the skills to leverage the power of Facebook: to connect business owners with the people who will love their business, meet people in the place where they explore their passions and scale their business,” commented Molly Rose Price, global marketing solutions manager at Facebook.

Organised in partnership with youth charity The Hebe Foundation, Digital Disruptors was launched last year in memory of Nicky McShane, one of our industry’s most exuberant and progressive digital marketers who sadly passed away at the end of 2017. The programme provides a platform for young people to engage with digital, encouraging them to realise their own potential with the guidance and encouragement of several digital companies. 

“Nicky would be totally behind what Digital Disruptors stands for. She’d love that we’re trying to harness the scarily huge expanse of creativity and innovative thinking that exists with our next generation. After all, they have grown up surrounded by digital, are demanding of its capabilities and are forthright in questioning how else it can be used to help them. She’d be championing our mission to give these young minds the platform to showcase their own ideas,” added co-founder Julie York.

Last year’s competition was won by 16-year-old Katie Nyarko and her team who designed a clever touchscreen personal safety app which allows users to flag any geographical areas of danger to their friends’ list as well as send instant alerts to their favourites list if they are in urgent need of police help.

At the final, Katie said: “We devised Look Out in direct response to the rising crime levels in London, high harassment levels for young women and increasing police shortages. Our aim was to use digital to connect people in our community, promote selflessness and community spirit and help to keep areas safer.”

Other ideas pitched last year included a programme to raise much-needed awareness of the high levels of suicide within the LGBTQ+ community, ethnic minorities and young males, a digital platform and event for empowering, encouraging and elevating more young women who face period poverty and an online musical youth club initiative.

Fundraising – support the initiative

The not-for-profit initiative was initially made possible by In Memoriam donations following Nicky’s death. It is now solely funded by industry donations and both Tina and Julie would love to hear from other digital brands and individuals who would like to get involved in completing this year’s activity or helping to structure and support the 2020 programme.

Find out more on how you can support the fundraising and be sure to catch the Digital Disruptors Final on the main stage 12.30pm on Day 1.