Dauda Barry

Elstree and Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

How it all started:

Having been brought up by parents with successful careers in business, Dauda had originally aspired to be a pilot.  His interests then moved into electronic and computer engineering which led to him beginning a degree at Queen Mary University in computer science.

In his second year he set up a robotics and artificial intelligence society and organised workshops in his own time to teach university students how to build their own robots.  He arranged presentations and lectures from professors from UCL and King’s College and would take society members on educational visits to the Science Museum and Bletchley Park.

Soon, Dauda became intrigued by the idea of educational technology and working with a friend and business partner, he submitted a business plan to the university’s fund for student entrepreneurs. They were successful and whilst in their final year of study they received a small business grant which enabled them to create robot prototypes ‘Sunny, Zippy and ‘Skippy’.  The concept grew and the pair took part in a business incubator, learning more about marketing and business development which led to the investment they needed to start Adama Robotics.

Now, whilst running a successful global business, Dauda dedicates considerable time towards raising awareness of the world of STEM amongst young people and supporting students or entrepreneurs with their career development.

Dauda explains, “From a very early age, my parents taught me that education is the key to many things – it opens doors and creates opportunities.  When I became part of the education system, I saw that there was a lot missing when it came to core STEM subjects such as computing and I knew there was a better way of doing things.  That is what led to the development of our educational kits.  Many teachers assume students know more than they do, so you need to break subjects down into simple building blocks and move up from there.”

The Future:

Now, Dauda regularly welcomes interns to work with him at Adama Robotics both in London and Dhaka. He also offers free robotics and coding bootcamps to schools without the budget to bring in this kind of specialised opportunity.

“Being a STEM ambassador and supporting young people with educational opportunities in this way is very rewarding.  When you see a young person smile or say ‘wow’ because they’ve understood something they thought was really complex, or because something they’ve created has worked, it feels great.”

“There were certain teachers that inspired me and I always aimed to be someone that could fill those shoes.  We work with many students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and it’s very apparent that having the right kind of encouragement from adults and role models is really important to help young people discover new subjects or work through their career aspirations.”

Now, Dauda and his team is building one of the only schools esports leagues in the UK.

Adaplay will enable school students to create their own school esports team to compete against other school students in the school esports league playing games such as Rocket League and Fortnite.

He explains, “As a computer science student and later as a teaching assistant of computer science, I experienced and saw first-hand that learning how to code was a tedious, boring and challenging process. In order to make this process more engaging and fun we decided to develop a coding game called adaplay.io, we did run 15 workshops in 3 different schools and we were astonished by how much the students liked the coding game and how competitive they were with each other.

The idea for the Adaplay school esports league was born from these workshops and observations.”

Schools already signed up to take part and we’re confident this will grow as a new and exciting way to get kids into esports and the computing space. School esports is already big in the USA and Asia but not yet in the UK.”

The Need For Ambassadors:

Through his work with STEMPOINT East, his offering to schools and regular internships, Dauda has made his role as an ambassador an integral part of his business model.  For Dauda, the need for this kind of proactive outreach stems from the lack of specific learning opportunities in school.

He says, “In my case, when I was studying GCSEs and A Levels, there was no computer science option available.  We only had basic ICT teaching us programmes such as Word and Excel, so if we wanted to know more we had to find out about it ourselves.  With a huge industry around subjects such as AI and robotics, these need to be available to students earlier, so they can immerse themselves in these fascinating areas which offer so much when it comes to career opportunities.

“This is why the role of STEM ambassadors is so important.  It allows young people who may not have had any real exposure to these industries before to interact with people from the real world and see how learning can be applied.  They can ask questions of people from all kinds of backgrounds that show them they can do this.”