One of the amazing things about the Tees Tech Awards is that it gives the digital sector’s hidden gems an opportunity to shine. Take Life Ninja for example, this ed-tech start-up may be small, yet its innovative educational software is having a phenomenal impact on schools both in the Tees Valley and internationally.
Helen Robinson, Director of School Engagement at Life Ninja, joins us to chat about how the SME is inspiring younger generations and what being shortlisted for Small Business of the Year at the Tees Tech Awards means to the team…
Life Ninja was first created by two friends, Tom and Trevor, who were initially interested in the creation of apps for the health and fitness sector. Fast forward a number of years, I was introduced to the team and had a keen interest in the creation of educational software for use by schools and teachers. Being a teacher, I realised there was a clear need for software which not only saved schools time, but also money. Life Ninja Education was co-founded, with the mission to democratise education.
We have just finished running the ‘Middlesbrough Mega Maths Competition’ in which we offered Zap Maths to all Middlesbrough schools completely free of charge. We ended up with twenty schools participating and students completing many hours of additional learning outside of school. Our aim was to encourage all pupils to complete extra maths under the disguise of a fun and engaging competition. It really worked! We hope to have helped students in the area develop a passion for learning again after having spent so much time out of school over the past 12 months. It has been such a success that we have something in the pipeline for the summer holidays, so watch this space!
We are a very small team, but highly efficient. Despite the difficulties of the past 12 months we have continued in our hard work and even taken on two apprentices. Being recognised by Tees Tech for our work is an absolute privilege, two of the co-founders both live and work in the Tees Valley and understand how hard working people are in the area.
On the big night itself, Tom and I are really looking forward to meeting other businesses in the area. It will be a great opportunity to network and chat to other like minded people whilst celebrating everyone’s success. 2020 has been really tough for many people and making it this far is an achievement in itself.
With our Middlesbrough Mega Maths Competition being such a success, we have something in the pipeline for the Summer holidays – keep your eyes peeled. We also have another educational app, Zap English, set to be released in July 2021 which covers the entire National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and 2.
Additionally, we’re working closely with the Smart School in the Middle East on an exciting project in which our platform, the Life Ninja Network, will be used to deliver an education to students currently in refugee camps in Lebanon.
Finally, we are hoping to be successful in a bid with Tees Valley Business for the delivery of the Life Ninja Network in all schools in the Tees Valley, amounting to 202 schools. It really has been a very busy year and we hope 2021 will be equally as exciting!
The Tees Tech Awards are taking place on Thursday 1 July at Hardwick Hall and will be live streamed online. Watch this space for more information.