Updated: May 24
Our Founder January Barnes recently discovered this inspiring startup called "I Can Code Academy" located in Estonia and soon to come to London. We found their founder Deniss Pronin and he told us his story - about how he once couldn't even afford a computer but now has a coding Academy for children - below is his story:
My name is Denis, I am from Estonia.
Originally, I was born in USSR time, when Estonian SSR was part of big and strong country till the early 90's. During this times, many people lost jobs, financial stability and hope in to the bright and light future. I was always crazy about computers and hackers, gadgets and other tech staff, but my family couldn’t afford none of it.
I finally got my first computer at age 24, but I couldn’t find it useful for programming and coding, a few years later I moved to London to learn English and start new life.
I spent time in the travel industry and studied in Plymouth University. It was there that I realised a new world of start-ups and my life could be changed again.
In one day on Kickstarter I’ve founded Kano.me and was so interesting and found a solution for my childhood dream. A little, bright and nice touch computer which you assemble like a lego constructor and start to play and learn coding from first minute.
In Jan 2018, I took one little Kano and visited my family in Estonia and Russia to show this orange devise and let my cousins to play. Th feedback was so positive and promising that I decide to register the company in Estonia and open an "I Can Code Academy" in my home town, Narva.
A short time after the registration, renting an office and other technical procedures, I opened doors in October 2018 and was ready for my first children to teach, but it was a problem.
I couldn't find any competent staff, teachers or mentors. This is a problem with small cities and not enough locals who can do the job.
So, my first road block was finding the staff who could take classes and teach children by fun gaming and develop a love for coding and creativity.
Over one year I spent time volunteering and participating in different hackathons, networking events in Tallinn and tried to invite people from everywhere to join, help and develop my project.
photo credit - Tech Heroes Club
In August 2019 everything changed - myself and a few local teenagers participated in a 5 day summer camp.
We helped the local children who had never before tried or practiced coding - to build thier first game in 3 hours and develop in 4 days with different levels.
This was to prove how easy and fun programming can be for children and full of fun with creativity.
We committed to a lots of work and in this 5 days created a team of young and active local commenters who were interesting to develop city into IT hub.
In the middle of September we open doors for first group of students in our Academy.
First words in the parent meeting was:
"Thank you guys for organizing it in Narva, a small local city. Because, we do not need to travel to Tallinn for it."
Me and my team understand how is important to start from small cities and give hope and technology there too - where children can really benefit from such initiatives.
All the big things happens in the big cities, but for me and our team- it's important to leafge a footstep in the smaller communities too and we are proud of it!
During last autumn we created day to day classes and workshops with master classes.
The new year brought us many new opportunities to develop. In March 2020 we been closed down due to COVID19 quarantine and restrictions 2+2 rules.
Now we hope to restart summer camp for local children and continue the fun and creativity of gaming for our local community.
If anyone interesting to help us, as mentor, volunteer or someone with free time in June, July or August please get in contact with us!
We welcome you to Narva and our creative community.
We have green city, fresh air, views on the border with Russia and Baltic cold Sea with seven kilometres white sand beach....
All children need education and a fun summer, let’s make it most of it!
The goal of I Can Code is to develop modern practical skills among students and adults to help them succeed in an ever-changing work environment.To do this, I Can Code organizes programming courses and events, the theme of which is modern skills and technologies. Starting from Narva, we are creating a network of high-tech classes around the world. Programming courses for children are just the beginning.We want to revise the education system and offer opportunities that are not available in traditional educational institutions. We do not keep up to date, we look 20 years ahead and try to prepare project participants for a world that does not yet exist.