Interview with: Kari Lawler - Young Entrepreneur And Youth4AI Founder

Women In Tech, Technology


I invited Kari to Speak to Spinks, as not only is her journey and experience so far pretty inspirational, but also because Kari is on a mission (like we are) to make tech more diverse and drive inclusion. Kari is passionate about getting more young people to choose a career in tech by demystifying AI. That is a mission we can get behind!

A bit about Kari...

Kari was accepted onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubator at just 14 years old, where she became the youngest start-up entrepreneur on the Innovation Birmingham campus.

Now, at 15, and with mentorship from Barclays Eagle Labs, she is utilising this knowledge to help start‐ups and SMEs understand and deploy AI within their business through education, development and training.

Kari’s rapid rise within the tech world has been acknowledged with multiple awards, including her winning the coveted UK Space Agency SatelLife challenge 2018 for her AI proposal. Being named one of ten top teen female tech talents in the UK through the InspiringJuniors UK competition. Plus, most recently, being the youngest ever nominee and winner of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Future Faces 2018 award for Technology & Innovation.

Additionally, she has become an in-demand event speaker, championing young entrepreneurship. Kari is currently in the process of setting up an AI youth outreach programme, with the sole aim to encourage more 13-25 year olds to explore and understand the world of AI.

What do you do?

Alongside assisting and working with local businesses in gaining a better understanding of the field of Artificial Intelligence, I’m currently working on a couple of big projects - the main project is the nationwide launch of my AI youth outreach programme, Youth4AI. I’m currently in the stage of locally trialing the programme through industry support and a partnership with a local college.

How did you get here?

To be fair, if I had to attribute one major factor to how I got here it would be from sharing what I create. In fact, my initial break, which launched me on this path, was being acknowledged by Google for a digital assistant I created called INFINITY and opportunities spiraled from there.

Tell us about the biggest challenge you have faced

On this amazing journey into becoming a young entrepreneur, the biggest problem I’ve faced is my age. The legalities of working and owning a business under 18 here in the UK can be difficult and if it wasn’t for my family’s support, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

How do you plan to arm your generation with knowledge on tech and AI?

The one thing I noticed whilst developing my youth programme is how misperceived AI is and this can be partly due to how it’s been presented predominantly negatively by pop-culture and the media. So, what I’m trying to do is present AI truthfully with explanations on how it is actually used today, through explaining machine learning. Plus, starting discussions on how, in the future, AI will play a major part in our lives as well as the ethical questions surrounding living in an AI dominated world.

What’s the best advice you could give a young person wanting to get into tech?

Probably some of the best advice I could give is; self‐learn, don’t wait to be taught; share what you create; network with the community through social media and by attending or volunteering at events, like meet‐ups, code clubs and hackathons and lastly be supportive of others.

Who has been your biggest influence?

In all honesty, I can’t really single out one person. On my journey to learn AI, Geoffrey Hinton (Google Brain), Demis Hassabis (Deepmind) and Andrew NG (Google Brain/Coursera) have all been inspirational. Plus, on the entrepreneur front, I would have to say my biggest inspiration would be Elon Musk (Space X/Tesla). I would love to meet all of them so if anyone can arrange, please let me know!

Where do you see yourself in 2050?

Wow, that’s a long way off. In 2050 I will be 46 and so, hopefully still be working in the amazing but always changing tech sector. Plus, with the projects I’m embarking on now, I would hope that I’ve played a part in creating a better future for my generation.

Follow Kari on Twitter

Connect with Kari on LinkedIn


Dania Lyons

Customer Experience Manager

Mortimer Spinks


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