Backed by Google and Facebook, Young Rewired State kicks off 2013 Festival of Code

Young Rewired State's (YRS) Festival of Code has kicked off today with the bold aim of discovering the 'British Zuckerberg.'

Running from 5-11 August, the challenge sees some 1,000 youngsters utilising open government data to build prototype websites, apps, and games to solve real-life problems.

The challenge - which is open to young coders aged 5 to 18 - runs across 50 host centres throughout the week before culminating on 9-11 August at the Birmingham Custard Factory.

There, the participants will have their creations judged by a panel featuring MTV presenter Izzy Lawrence and renowned British technologist Conrad Wolfram.

"The digital world in which we live is crying out for a workforce with the right skills for the 21st century and the Festival of Code is an opportunity for young innovators to develop their skills in a creative and collaborative environment. Young Rewired State is working to address the shortage of skilled programmers by facilitating events that mainstream programming as a discipline and engage and enthuse young people," commented Emma Mulqueeny, CEO of Young Rewired State.

As well as big name judges, this year's Festival Code is being backed a number of industry heavy hitters, including SAP, Facebook and Google, plus UK education body AQA.

Mulqueeny continued: "We've experienced rapid growth as a coding movement and the support of our flagship sponsors demonstrates a wide recognition that up-skilling the next generation in skills for the digital economy really will be key to innovation, jobs, and wealth-creation in the future."

"We are proud to support Young Rewired State and to encourage the next generation of coders as they learn and discover new ways of thinking and solving real-life problems and needs. We are looking forward to seeing what these young coders will come up with during the upcoming Festival of Code," added Bjoern Goerke, executive vice president of enterprise cloud at SAP.

Previous Festival of Code creations include energy efficiency league table website GovSpark, which is now at the heart of the government's internal energy monitoring strategy.

Since its inception in 2009, Young Rewired State has grown from a modest 50 developers to a 1,000-strong network of young programmers and recently expanded to New York.

For more, check out our interview with Young Rewired State and Rewired State founder Emma Mulqueeny from Digital 2013.