Technovation, a flagship program of non-profit Iridescent, is the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls. The program offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders.
Every year, Technovation challenges 10- to 18-year-old girls to build a business plan and mobile app that will address a community problem. Since 2009, over 15,000 girls have participated from more than 100 countries.
Working in teams of up to five girls, supported by mentors, students go through four stages of launching a mobile app startup, inspired by the principles of design thinking:
Ideation — Identify a problem in the community
Technology — Develop a mobile app solution
Entrepreneurship — Build a business plan to launch the app
Pitch — Take the business to market
Over a period of 12 weeks, teams with one to five members, along with a mentor, learn how to develop a concept for an application addressing an issue or need identified in their community, map out a business plan, and create a prototype app, all while learning the basics of marketing and programming.
Ideally, all girls on a team should either be in the same middle school or in the same high school. They should have a sponsoring teacher, who can facilitate organizing the team.
The teams meet as a group weekly.
Teams are mentored by women who work in the technology field in tech companies in and around Kitchener-Waterloo.
Teams will also be paired with female students who are studying computer science or engineering at the University of Waterloo.
At the end of the program there is a competition where teams pitch their businesses to local judges and compete for prizes. The top teams move on to the semi-finals globally online, where they will have a chance to win a spot in the top 10 to pitch in California.
Student — You are a girl in Grade 7 to 12 ready for a fun experience in a team of up to five amazing girls. You can commit at least four hours per week for the program (about 50 hours in total).
Mentor — You are a woman working in the field of technology in the private or public sector, or you are a woman who is studying computer science or engineering at university. No coding experience is necessary. You will be paired with another mentor to work with a team. Mentors meet regularly with their teams, providing guidance, encouraging perseverance, problem solving and connecting them to resources they need. You should be ready to commit 20 to 25 hours from January to April.
Instructor — You are in the field of technology in the private or public sector. You are interested in leading a workshop module. You should expect to spend four to eight hours preparing for the session, plus the four-hour weekend workshop.
Teacher — You are a teacher in middle or high school who will sponsor a team. Your role is to help form one or more teams at your school, and to facilitate communication with the team during school hours. You do not need to attend any sessions or meetings, although you are welcome if you choose to participate.
Would you like to see previous submissions to Technovation?
We tend to learn best by looking at examples of what others have done. Here are two submissions:
- Team Unite, which created an app called LeftOvers
Ready to take a step and get involved in today’s important global issues, but still on the go? LeftOvers is an interactive app that connects volunteers, vendors and local charities and NGOs. The volunteers get live notifications for food pickups, vendors can post a food donation and charities can collect. Volunteer drivers, donors and charities all stay informed and enabled for optimal routing and delivery. Rescue food that would otherwise be thrown in the landfill, do your part today and unite with us!
- Team ByteMe, which created an app called Walkable
Walkable helps women feel safe as they head to their destination. Every aspect of the design empowers women to stay out of dangerous situations. The attacker is going to be after a woman's money, body, or life. If they are ever in that scenario, the app will help guide them out of it. Walkable has a menu with a panic button and alert contacts that make emergency responses quicker. The app allows a woman’s safety network to know where they are at all times in case they feel endangered or need help.
Interested in joining the Technovation Challenge?
Participating in Technovation is free. Find out how to register.