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Our newest program, Girls Mean Business, aims to encourage female and non-binary youth to explore technology and entrepreneurship. The program includes a series of hands-on programs for students in grades 6 through 12 that guide participants through parts of the lifecycle of becoming a technology entrepreneur. Parents and teachers are encouraged to be mentors for the girls, learning alongside them when possible!

FLIGHT (Future Leaders Innovating to Go Higher in Technology)

blue circle with FLIGHT in the middle and Future Leaders Innovating to Go Higher in Technology around the perimeter

Date: August 9 - 20, 2021 (weekdays only)

Time: AM and PM sessions that will vary day by day. Detailed daily schedule to come.

Cost: FREE! (Limited capacity, registration required)

Who: aimed at female, non-binary, trans, other gender-minority self-identified Black youth. All self-identified Black youth are welcome.

This summer Women in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo and Young Upcoming Talented and Educated Students of the Caribbean (YUTES) are piloting a new program called FLIGHT or Future Leaders Innovating to Go Higher in Technology. 

In this 2-week program where students will work in teams to create a technology-backed business idea around a problem that they identify within the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Guest speakers will teach students industry best practices from the design-thinking process - including problem definition, market research, and creating a prototype. To cap off the program, students will pitch their idea to a panel of judges for feedback and prizing. The program will also include a one-day conference focused on professional development.

Program partners

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FLIGHT Itinerary

*Note: while this is likely to be the itinerary we follow, it is subject to some change

Date Topic Description
Monday, August 9 Meet your team!
Entrepreneurial skills
An introduction to the program (people and content) and entrepreneurship and what it means to be an entrepreneur. You will get to meet their teams and take part in a short icebreaker activity.
Design thinking + Brainstorming (problem definition) session Facilitated brainstorming as a large group to practice thinking of problems you may be interested in solving. Once everyone is comfortable with the process you'll transition into working with your teams to work towards an agreed upon problem to solve.
Tuesday, August 10 Personas + Journey mapping Part 1 (Product Manager presentation) Learn about creating how to create personas & journey mapping and what to include when describing and learning about your target user. You'll get to hear about a new role: a Product Manager!
Customer surveys + GOOTB Part 1 Learning about best practices when designing surveys to learn more about your problem and how it impacts people. A GOOTB or Get Out Of The Building, gets you out in the world researching your problem. Teams will start building surveys and doing GOOTBs in this session.
Wednesday, August 11 Customer surveys + GOOTB Part 2 You'll get to refine surveys so they can be sent out to gather answers. Coaches will be available to give feedback and input on surveys and your GOOTB.
Personas + Journey mapping Part 2 You'll work on creating preliminary personas and journey maps about your selected problem based on the outcomes of the problem definition session, research, and personal experiences.
Thursday, August 12 FLIGHT Conference A one day career pathways conference. With presentations on the entrepreneurial process, negotiation/working in a corporate setting, a career planning panel, looking at different schools or programs for entrepreneurship, and how to network. You'll event get to network with fellow attendees to practice your new networking skills and meet other students in the program.
Friday, August 13 Empathy Mapping + Problem Statement Refinement An empathy map is a great way to create a focused summary of the work done so far. You'll compile your initial findings from the surveys, personas and journey maps. This will help identify insights (pain points and new knowledge). With all of the learning from the first week, you'll finish off with a revised problem statement. As a group, we'll revisit the design thinking model to recap what stages we've gone through already and what is to come.
Thinking of Solutions You'll be introduced to 2-3 methods for think of solutions (ex. brainstorming, mindmapping, etc.). Your team will do some work to think of a solution, but you'll have the weekend to keep thinking about it on your own.
Monday, August 16 Prototype Ideation Use on the methods shown to you on Friday, you and your team will start to think of solutions to your problem. You'll also have some more data from your surveys and any additional thoughts you had over the weekend to refine problem statement further.
Prototyping sessions Teams will select from sessions about
• how to prototype an app/website
• 3D modelling (using TinkerCAD)
• storyboarding and creating a video (if your solution is to offer a service)
Tuesday, August 17 Work time on the prototype Using your new found knowledge, it's time to work on building a prototype with your team.
Communications Workshop In this workshop, we'll be going over the importance of strong communication skills, with an emphasis on oral communication and presenting. This will be the foundation for the Pitch Workshop on Thursday.
Wendesday, August 18 Prototype refining Teams test each other's prototypes and give feedback so that they can refine their prototypes.
Build out poster Start working on putting together your poster for the showcase. A list of the must have items will be provided to guide you and your team in what should be included.
Thursday, August 19 Pitch workshop A workshop that goes over what makes a strong pitch and gives guidance on how to write one.
Free work time This is time to work on your poster, pitch, and prototype to prepare for the showcase the next day.
Friday, August 20 Showcase Day! Teams will present their pitch to a panel of judges. Judges will provide feedback and score the teams based on pre-determined criteria shared in a rubric (you'll get to see this rubric in advance). Top scoring teams will move on to pitch in front of all participants to determin the top teams and award other prizes celebrating creativity, work ethic and perserverance. You'll get a certificate verifying your completion of the program.

Under the authority of the University of Waterloo Act (1972), the University of Waterloo gathers and maintains information used for the purposes of admission, registration, and other fundamental activities related to being a member of the University community and to participating in programs organized by a public post-secondary institution in the province of Ontario, Canada. The University of Waterloo is committed to respecting the privacy and the personal information requested on this form, or requested during, or in connection with, your participation in FLIGHT, is collected in accordance with Sections 38(2), 41(1), 42 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F. 31 as amended, as well as in compliance with our University’s policies and guidelines.  If you have any questions regarding the collection of information associated with this form or FLIGHT, please contact


We are taking a pause on workshops until Fall 2021, keep an eye on this webpage or join our mailing list to stay up to date.

In the meantime, check out what's been happening thus far! A BIG thank you to the presenters and attendees who've joined us so far!

Community Partners

We are very grateful to our community partners who support this program!

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