18-19 November


Oracle City Office London, 1 South Pl, London EC2M 2RB


20 teams, aged 12-19


updating shortly...

ABOUT #AcornHackVR

The future success and prosperity of the global economy increasingly depend on our ability to harness talent and to encourage the creativity and innovation of young people. Now more than ever young people need to know they matter and given the opportunity, they can change the world around them.

Technology has the potential to transcend all boundaries and connect young people across the world through creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, but most importantly, equip the next generation with the tools they need to solve the problems of tomorrow.As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Acorn Aspirations in partnership with Code To Inspire (Herat, Afghanistan), Choose2Matter (Denver, Colorado) Tyler Web Dev (Texas, USA) and Coding-U (Concepcion, Chile) is running a global virtual reality hackathon, where young people aged 12-18 will collaborate with mentors from universities and local tech communities to develop Virtual Reality experiences that would help address social problems in their local communities and worldwide.

#AcornHackVR will bring together teens in technology for a 2-day extravaganza of problem-solving and inspiration using virtual reality technology. Apart from tech and human-focused design, they will have gained skills in communication, delegation, adaptability – skills valued in any industry.


The skills gap is costing the UK economy alone around £63bn a year in lost income.’

– Digital Skills Report, 2016

‘Almost 50% of employers have a digital skills gap, which includes specialist technical roles.’ Digital Skills Report, 2016‘The benefits [of greater digital skills and inclusion] are huge. In this new report, in terms of productivity, there is a benefit of £358 million for individuals, and £243 million for government in additional revenue.’ – The Economic Impact of Basic Digital Skills and Inclusion in the UK , 2016

It is believed that young people lack soft skills:

‘Nine in ten employers believe job-seekers should focus on soft skills just as much as their grades… Yet 60 per cent of young people think businesses only care about academic grades’ – Duke of Edinburgh, 2017

‘60% of managers claim the new graduates do not have the critical thinking and problem solving skills’ – Forbes, 2016


At Acorn Aspirations we believe teenagers should be part of this technological transformation and have an opportunity to create technology alongside the most innovative minds and tech creators. We know that young people learn best when they are equipped with the right tools and environment that nurture their creativity. During our hackathons, bootcamps and accelerator programmes we explore A.I./Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and introduce young people to the most innovative and impactful technologies that are changing the world. Our latest hackathon explored Artificial Intelligence tools to address depression, anxiety, stress, phobias and more.

At Acorn Aspirations we design learning experiences that nurture entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity in young people. We develop future leaders – leaders that will be making tomorrow’s world a better place. We prepare young people for the jobs that do not yet exist. Young people that learn through our programmes WILL BE the ones to create those jobs.

Join us. Learn with us. Reinvent education with us!


Herat, Afghanistan

Denver, Colorado

Concepción, Chile

Tyler, Texas




Elena Sinel (London, UK)

Founder & CEO, Acorn Aspirations

Elena is CEO and Founder of Acorn Aspirations and on a mission to inspire young people aged 12-18 into tech entrepreneurship, whilst also creating global networks of young people who are using technology to change the world around them. Prior to founding Acorn, she spent over 10 years living

Emily Burke (Texas, USA)

Student, PennState University

Emily is a young hacker and studying Engineering at PennState University, Pennsylvania USA. She is very active in the "women-in-tech" scene and currently completing her internship at Ingersoll Rand in Texas.

Angela Maiers (Colorado, USA)

Founder & SEO, Choose2Matter

Leader. Visionary. Entrepreneur. Disruptor. Change Maker. Angela is the founder of Choose2Matter, a universal movement that challenges us to make “mattering” a way of life. When people accept that they matter and that their actions count, lives, learning and our world change.

Marisel Mateluna (Concepcion, Chile)

Founder & CEO, Coding-U

Marisel is founder and CEO of Coding-U based in Chile. A Computer Science engineer and IT Advisor.

Fereshteh Forough (Herat, Afghanistan)

Founder & CEO, Code to Inspire

Born as an Afghan refugee in Iran during the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan, she earned her Bachelor in Computer Science and later Master's from Technical University of Berlin in Germany. In January 2015 she founded the first coding school for girls in Afghanistan with the mission of educating Afghan

JUDGES (London)

Roberta Lucca

Co-founder & CEO, BOLDR

Roberta has passion for driving change, creating and growing disruptive businesses, She has been voted top 35 women under 35 by Management Today, Top 30 Women in Games and Influential Tech Leader.

John Abel

Head of Technology and Cloud for UK, Ireland and Israel at Oracle

My role within Oracle is to lead the sales consulting and business development for all of technology offerings across UK, Ireland and Israel.

Simon Godfrey

Director, BT

Simon is an industry veteran having spent many years in computing and technology enabled change. He is passionate about the impact of technology and how it can be a force for good.

Ewan Gaffney

Managing Director, GEWUK

Ewan is Managing Director or Global Entrepreneurship Week, UK, which provides a year-round platform of programs and initiatives aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Ann Callison

Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

Ann Callison is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley based in London and Global Head of Strategic Initiatives for Operations, where she is responsible for robotic process automation, cognitive technology and innovation.

Travers Lee

Chief Marketing Officer, Founders4Schools

Travers Lee is a Chief Marketing Officer, Founders4Schools, which introduces students to inspiring, successful business leaders to discover the skills and pathways required to be part of those companies that will shape our future.

Lorena Szerman

VP Sales at Soma Analytics & Founder, BizWorld

Lorena has 16+ years track record in international sales, marketing, product management and business development. She is also Founder and CEO of BizWorld Foundation, which teaches business and entrepreneurship to young children in schools in the UK.

Sally Eaves

CTO of MindFIt

Thought leader in emergent technology (Blockchain, AI, Machine Learning, VR/AR). Official member of the Forbes Technology Council. Sally is the CTO of MindFit, a disruptive digital solution to bridge the gap between education and business, enhancing employability and improving workforce engagement.

Tina Woods

Founder, Collider Health

Tina is founder of Collider Health, a health innovation catalyst that works with organisations of all shapes and sizes to think and do differently and transform health with meaningful impact. Alongside her commercial work, she runs ColliderSCIENCE, to inspire young people in science and engineering, working with leading scientists

Muki Kulhan

CEO, Muki-International Ltd.

Muki Kulhan is an award-winning Executive Digital Producer with over two decades creating interactive content in the worlds of music, entertainment, and tech innovation. She runs Muki-International Ltd, creating exclusive social content, VR/AR/MxR, and has been a guest speaker at Cambridge Wireless, Media Trust, VR World Congress, Royal Television

Thomas Gere

Founder & CEO, Realities Centre

Founder and CEO of the Realities Centre, a space in Central & West London dedicated to Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality / Mixed Reality / 360 Video technologies.

Sanj Surati

Digital Founder of Tiger Heart

Sanj is an award winning multi disciplined Digital Creative with over twenty years of experience within the music, fashion and luxury industries.

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Teens aged 12-19 are welcome at Acorn Aspirations events. If you are under 12, please email the relevant event organiser first. London -
This event is NOT just for coders! Anyone who is passionate about VR and social impact can be part of it! Whether you are a beginner, an expert or a student, you are welcome to join YOUR local community of innovators and create a solution using YOUR skills! Acorn Aspirations' events have places for designers, coders, idea generators and anybody else who can help!
We do not provide laptops, so please bring your own.
YES! We will provide lunch 🙂
Acorn Aspirations is a social impact company, which aims to inspire young people aged 12-19 into the world of technology and entrepreneurship. We are on a mission to bridge the digital skills gap and nurture the next generation of digital talent to fill the jobs required by the tech industry.  
AcornHackVR will take place in several locations across the UK Buckingham - Buckingham University London - Venue TBC | Liverpool - Liverpool University
You will learn how to turn your ideas into a basic working version. Things you'll learn:
  • How to decide which of your ideas are worth working on
  • How to decide what features the user needs to get them from A to B
  • How to sketch your ideas
  • How to build your idea using rapid prototyping tools
  • How to pitch your idea
  • Basic coding skills & UX - HTML, CSS
  • Basic VR skills - Unity, Unreal Engine, WebVR etc..
Awesome! Send an email to the relevant event organiser 🙂 London:

Podcast: Emily Atkinson, Director of Girls In Tech; Cathy White, Director of GeekGirls Meetup; Elena Sinel, CEO of Acorn Aspirations, Mike Butcher, Editor-at-Large of TechCrunch