Technovation recently announced the kick off of its 2023 season and global competition to build on its movement to reach and support 25 million girls and young women to become problem-solving technology leaders and entrepreneurs in the next 15 years.
Technovation is introducing three new climate-focused units to empower youth to tackle issues of responsible consumption, water access, and climate action. There are additional resources to help students connect effectively with local communities and experts to develop a better understanding of the problems they are tackling. The new units were developed based on previous season’s data analysis and global trends in an effort to make the program as relevant and timely as possible.
The program teaches girls to code and empowers them to explore STEM careers and entrepreneurship. Walking into a computer science program can be daunting, so Technovation starts working with students at a younger age, particularly middle school, to build interest in technology and encourage girls to continue exploring the tech field.
Throughout the past nine years, Technovation has grown to include chapters run by universities and nonprofits with a network of almost 1,400 mentors to support and empower almost 3,500 girls across Canada to become young technology entrepreneurs. For the past several years, there has been at least one Canadian team to become a regional winner or a finalist. Most recently, in the 2022 competition, a Beginner Division team created an app to educate Canadians about endangered marine species around them.
Another app was created by a Junior Division team composed of two sisters who wanted to help combat a sedentary lifestyle by encouraging workers to take small movement breaks. Also, the Montreal Chapter has been working on machine-translating the curriculum from English to French, so it is available to all French speakers across Canada.
The technical solutions created by Canadian teams address some of the most significant issues facing young people today such as mental health and reducing waste from large fast fashion companies. Other teams created apps to address issues of accessibility for people with disabilities, while another app connects charities to nonprofits and NGOs.
Being an entrepreneur is not easy and innovating is even harder—especially when you are tackling complex issues ranging from climate change to food security. That is why Technovation is so excited to be able to help girls gain a deeper understanding of these complex issues while developing the valuable skills of critical thinking, real-world problem solving, and collaboration.
Data analysis from the last few years—since the start of the pandemic—showed a global drop in teamwork as online collaboration proved to be challenging and much less motivating for many participants. This year, Technovation is focusing on helping its global community come back together locally and globally when possible. Technovation Regional Pitch Events will return in May for eligible chapters in which teams pitch their mobile app or AI project and business ideas locally and showcase them to the broader community.
This 2023 season is such an incredible moment to participate in Technovation Girls as a student or volunteer. There are more resources and opportunities to help teams make a difference in their community than ever before. Technovation especially wants to encourage girls and mentors from all over to experiment with ChatGPT and see how it can make building projects easier.
ChatGPT can help participants in the program go further or faster especially in the ideation, brainstorming, business planning, figuring out innovative revenue models, or even getting feedback on pitch video scripts. Students using the curriculum can go above and beyond in projects with this tool, while recognizing the tool’s limitations and practicing critical thinking.
Technovation’s partnership with Shopify has also been instrumental in supporting girls across Canada and the globe. Shopify started with hosting local engagements in four cities, then expanded its national partnerships across Canada, and now supports chapters in six countries. Shopify has been involved with Technovation for more than eight years, supporting more than 3,000 girls, which led to hiring 17 alumnae as interns for Shopify’s Dev Degree program.
Over the past 17 years, Technovation has reached more than 350,000 participants in 120-plus countries, including eight chapters across five Canadian provinces. After completing the program, 76% of Technovation alumnae pursue STEM degrees, while 60% work in STEM careers.
Rebecca Anderson is the Senior Director of Programs at Technovation. Since its foundation in 2006, Technovation has welcomed more than 130,000 children and parents, and 14,000 mentors to participate in programs in more than 100 countries.