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11-year-old Townsville app developer attends President Obama's summit

With four apps already under his belt, it's no surprise 11-year-old Hamish Finlayson was one of 9 Australian startup hopefuls invited to attend President Obama's Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley in June this year.

With more than 5000 applicants eager to secure a spot and only 700 entrepreneurs invited to attend, Hamish was the youngest in the world to receive an invitation to the exclusive event, where he was given the stage to pitch his ideas to some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs and investors from around the globe.

A passion to protect the environment has been the inspiration behind Hamish's app development ventures. His first app, LitterbugSmash—for which he recently won an Australia Day award for Environmental Excellence and Sustainability—came from love of sea turtles and desire to educate people about the effects of pollution and littering. This was quickly backed up with a second app called Keep Calm and Save the Turtles and a third app, an interactive book called Litter Book of Facts, followed in the direction of environmental protection.

Hamish Finlayson and his interactive book app, Litter Book of Facts.

Hamish Finlayson and his interactive book app, Litter Book of Facts.

Continuing with the theme of making the world a better place, Hamish's latest venture has a more personal motivation—focussing on people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Hamish is autistic and the idea to break down the barriers around this puzzling disorder evolved into his fourth app, TripleT&ASD. The app includes quizzes and tips to help both those with autism, and the general public learn about the disorder.

Eager to share his apps with a wider audience, Hamish and his family travelled to Perth last December to pitch his ideas at the OzApp Awards. US Ambassador to Australia, John Berry, was impressed by such a young talent and invited Hamish to discuss his ideas at a roundtable. This led to a gold medal win and an invitation to the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the epi-centre of innovation, Silicon Valley.

Hamish intends on continuing his app development by using the power of technology for social good, and has been invited by Facebook to be a part of the FbStart program that is designed to help early stage mobile startups build and grow their apps.

Watch as Hamish meets President Barak Obama at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Further information

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Last updated
18 July, 2017

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