Technovation- Inspiring Female High School Students to Pursue Careers in Technology. January 20, 2015 09:24

View the winning pitch from 2013's Technovation Challenge.

Recently I got to view a program I am really excited about and want to help encourage!
Long story made short, I’ve been beta testing our Gnomie apps in their various stages of development with my friends Genia and her daughter Zoe.

I was excited to hear that Zoe had enrolled in an awesome program called the Technovation Challenge. Once a week Zoe and four of her friends along with other groups of female high school students from the Berkeley and Albany areas have been meeting with mentors and coaches at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where they have been conceptualizing and developing mobile applications in the fields of science and education.

Technovation’s aim is to get girls interested in areas such as computer science and entrepreneurship by offering a 10 week mentorship and work development program, where teams develop an application prototype, design the overall business proposal, and create a multi media presentation to a panel of judges whom have technology and venture capital experience (also of course a lot of supportive family and friends). The winning team will have the support needed to execute and distribute their app on the Android market.

According to Iridescent , the non-profit educational organization that created the Technovation Challenge program, “there is a generalized perception that many women do not have equal access to or feel comfortable pursuing careers in the technology or business fields. Though there are exceptions to this rule, Iridescent hopes to encourage girls to become involved and to acquire necessary skills to be active, participating members of the technological and business fields through the Technovation Challenge.”

Here is what Zoe had to say about her experience in the program:

“The Technovation program was a really great opportunity for me as it gave an insight to a career path that I most likely would have never learned about or considered for later in life.

Being a sophomore in high school everyone is now encouraging me to think about college and a career. By being a part of Technovation not only was I educated that women can pursue careers in technology and science, but I also got hands on training on how to build a mobile phone app and how to start my own business.

Over ten weeks myself and four other teammates (Rosemary, Hope, Sylvia and Zareen) came up with an app idea and business plan, then we got to start making a prototype of our app on AppInventor (an application currently in beta testing that create apps easily for the android market). Each week our team would meet twice, once on Tuesdays with all the other teams from Berkeley High School ( my school) and the teams from Albany High School. At these meetings we would often have a guest speaker who was a woman in the technology, which was always cool and interesting to hear their struggles and their accomplishments. Then there would be lesson on learning a new skill like how to present to investors or learning how to call a command for pressing a button on our app. After our big meeting our team would meet at school or at Hope’s house to work on our app, business plan, and presentation for pitch day, where we would actually present to judges from the industry.

On pitch day our team was up against all the other teams from our Tuesday meetings. The winning team (A team from Albany) would go on to the national competition where the winning team will have their app actually produced and sold on the android market. Although my team lost it was a great experience to be part of, and though I do not think I’m going to pursue a job in the tech industry, there were so many great skills I learned that I can take away from it and apply to what I want to do- although I am not completely ruling out a tech job because me and my friend Hope are thinking of trying to get our app made and sold anyways!”

Learn more about Technovation HERE
And follow their blog HERE