By Prince Osuagwu
Two Nigerian school girls between the ages of 10 and 18 would go home each $10,000 richer, as a global technology entrepreneurship program for girls, Technovation challenge, kicks off the 2015 edition.
Technovation is a programme designed by Iridescent, a science-education non-profit organization that helps engineers, scientists and high-tech professionals bring cutting edge science, technology and engineering to high school girls and underprivileged minority children and their families.
The programme aims at empowering young women to use technology to make the world a better place. In 2014, 1,500 girls from around the globe developed 362 mobile apps, making Technovation the largest global technology entrepreneurship program for girls.
The challenge is open to secondary school girls between the ages of 10 and 18 who would be incubated for three months and work in teams of five to develop Mobile Apps, conduct market research, write business plans and create a pitch for funding. Each team is expected to work with a classroom teacher in their school and a female mentor/role model from a technology industry. Teams will compete in one of two divisions: middle school or high school. The age of the oldest girl on the team will determine the team’s division. Top ranked teams from each division will qualify to travel to San Francisco for World Pitch, with Technovation making travel scholarships available to the finalist teams who cannot cover the travel costs on their own.
At World Pitch, one winner from the middle school category will be selected to win $10,000, and one winner from the high school category will win $10,000. The teams are expected to register on a website http://technovationchallenge.org, specially created for the programme.
Nigeria’s innovation creation centre, Idea Hub, Digital Girls Club and Women in Technology in Nigeria, WITIN among many others are all partners to this project
Ms Anar Simpson, Global Ambassador for Technovation, explained through teleconferencing, that the idea was to motivate and educate girls and women to solve real-world problems through technology, inspiring girls to see themselves not just as users of technology, but as inventors, designers, builders, and entrepreneurs in the industry.
The participating girls would be taught life skills such as how to identify a problem, design and test a solution, collaborate with a team, and communicate to different audiences. Over the three months period, girls will be trained 2 hours a week to develop a potential solution to a problem and program a mobile phone application to solve it. The app must solve a problem in their local community. This could be a health problem that affects their community, a social problem, or even a lack of a resource.
They will also learn how to study the market, analyze competitors, identify ways in which they can gather user feedback and earn revenue.