Two junior division Waterloo teams progress to 2023 Technovation semi-finals

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Two teams of Waterloo Region elementary school students have progressed to the semi-finals in the junior division of the 2023 Technovation Girls Challenge. Technovation Girls is an international 12-week program with regional chapters that equips girls and young women, including transgender, non-binary, and gender-fluid individuals ages 10 to 18 with problem-solving, leadership and coding skills to become the next generation of tech entrepreneurs and leaders. 

To participate in Technovation, teams of students identify a problem, create a mobile app that solves it, prepare a user-adoption or business plan, and make a pitch to a panel of judges at a Regional Pitch Event or Celebration Event, with help and guidance from volunteer mentors. This year Waterloo’s Celebration Event was held on May 6, 2023 at the Cheriton School of Computer Science. Team projects were judged officially online by international judges. 

Semi-finalist Team B.T.F (Building the Future), comprised of elementary school students Athena, Zainab, Aleen and Jana, and mentored by Shanzay Abbas, a Waterloo honours physics student, created an app called Charitable to connect donors with charities. 

photo of Team BTF

L to R: Elementary school students Athena, Zainab, Aleen and Jana of Team B.T.F. at the Technovation Waterloo Celebration Event at the Cheriton School of Computer Science on May 6, 2023

“Donors benefit by being able to find and favourite charities, compete on the leaderboard, and earn awards,” according to Team B.T.F.’s submission. “Charities benefit by putting items they need, educating people about their charities, and raising awareness on what can and cannot be donated to their charities.”  
Semi-finalist Team EJ, comprised of elementary school students Jay and Emma, and mentored by Ryan Deschamps and Leanne Stuvie, created an app called Food Waste that is designed to remind people when their food is expiring and to educate them about food banks. 

photo of Team EJ with mentors

L to R: Mentor Ryan Deschamps, elementary school students Jay and Emma, and mentor Leanne Stuvie

“Nearly 2.3 billion kilograms of edible food is wasted annually in Canada,” according to Team EJ’s submission. “A large portion of this waste is caused by excessive purchasing and lack of information.” 

“I am super proud of both Waterloo chapter teams for making it to the semi-finals,” said Hillary Matt, Women in Computer Science Outreach Coordinator, who manages the local chapter. “Technovation is a really inspiring and impactful program. It covers a lot of ground for girls+ interested in coding, tech, and entrepreneurship, and it also provides a safe space for learning about these subjects. Way to go Teams B.T.F and EJ!”

Technovation received more than 2,100 submissions from teams across more than 60 countries this season, the largest number of submissions the organization has received to date. Only one in ten teams make it to the semi-finals. Semi-finalists are now moving to the next round of judging. Finalists will be announced on June 30, 2023.

About Technovation Girls Waterloo

Technovation Girls Waterloo, a local chapter in Waterloo Region, was established in 2018 by Jo Atlee, Professor and Director of Women in Computer Science at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, to help address the gender gap in tech

Learn more about Technovation Girls and its Waterloo chapter offered by Women in Compuer Science Outreach.

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