March 2, 2016 was officially the midpoint of the Technovation Challenge in Ottawa. The 2016 competition started on Sunday January 17, at Carleton University, where Anar Simpson, Global Ambassador for Technovation, kicked off the program.
Technovation is a global technology entrepreneurship competition for young women that sets out to prove that there’s more than just coding in the technology sector. The program is designed to inspire and educate young women to pursue a career in technology by showing them all aspects of starting a technology business.
Regional Technovation Chapters contact local high schools to introduce the program and recruit teams of high school girls. Thanks to the efforts of Jennifer Francis, chair of Women Powering Technology, an Ottawa Chapter of Technovation that started up in January 2015. The pilot was such a success, participation in 2016 has doubled with over 100 high school and middle school girls participating and 30 female mentors from the Ottawa tech sector.
In addition to IBM, Shopify, and L-Spark, Pythian is a proud sponsor of the 2016 competition. Having just announced the Pythia program , it was a natural fit for Pythian to sponsor Technovation. The Pythia program focuses on increasing the percentage of talented women who work at Pythian, especially in tech roles. It also encourages and supports the participation of girls and women in STEM fields, which is exactly what Technovation is all about.
The support of the sponsors allows the teams to meet weekly at the sponsor’s facilities. Here the teams, along with their mentors, guest speakers and instructor from Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management (TIM) program, focus on identifying a problem facing their community, creating an App to solve the problem, code the App, build a company, and pitch their business plan to experts in the field! It’s pretty impressive considering the high school girls squeeze this competition in on top of their day-to-day school classes and after-school activities. They are all committed and dedicated – a great sign of future leaders!
“My views of working in the technology sector have changed, since it feels like something anyone can be a part of, whereas it was a distant idea before,” said 17-year-old Doris Feng, a student at Merivale High School and member of the team Women With Ambition. “I came in with the notion that we would be coding during the first week, but it turns out much of the development takes place off screen, with many hours dedicated to brainstorming, surveying users, drawing a paper prototype, and mulling over the ideas with team members.”
I couldn’t have said it better Doris! This is exactly what happens in the real world.
Technovation is a program designed to inspire women to pursue the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. For more information on Technovation and starting your own local chapter, visit Technovation online. Globally, Technovation is sponsored by Adobe Foundation, Google, Verizon, CA Technologies, Intel and Oracle, in partnership with UN Women, UNESCO and MIT Media Lab.