Girls for a change
The Faculty of Science is home to Technovation for the Calgary region. Since 2014, we've been working with local area schools, community groups, students, and industry professionals to offer young women the chance to develop their leadership, coding, and business skills.
Technovation, a flagship program of non-profit Iridescent, is the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls. The program offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders, and aims to inspire young women to change the world through technology. Every year, Technovation challenges girls aged 10 to 18 to build a business plan and mobile app to address a community issue. In 2018, close to 20,000 girls registered from across 115 countries.
One in three people with a post-secondary degree in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are women. The Technovation program is designed to reduce the gender gap in computer science and related degrees by engaging girls early in their schooling, teaching them about science and technology, and providing them with mentorship opportunities and role models. The structure of Technovation helps participants build entrepreneurial thinking, self-awareness, confidence, teamwork, and project/time management skills. Technovation’s unique program design brings together teachers, industry mentors, and students to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurship and STEM education for women in Calgary.
The Faculty of Science has been working with local area schools and community groups since 2014 to encourage girls to join the program. To provide a rich learning experiences, and technical and business guidance, the Faculty also recruits university students and industry professionals to mentor the teams. Over the 12-week program, the girls work with their mentors to learn to code, develop an app, and write a business plan that will help solve a problem in their community. Teams present their apps and business plans at the Regional Pitch Competition in May, and may earn a spot at the World Pitch Competition in Silicon Valley.
In this program, middle/high school girls (aged 10-18) design mobile apps, gain technology and entrepreneurship skills, and work with women mentors from the tech industry. The 12-week program matches each team with two mentors - one from industry who is in a professional role (providing business advice) and one from the Department of Computer Science (providing technical support). Together they work through an online curriculum focused on creating an app, defining a problem, understanding how the app solves the problem, understanding the customer need, market size, competition. These young women are exposed to the whole business life cycle of creating a mobile app. At the end of the 12 weeks, they will participate in a regional pitch competition at the University of Calgary. The World Pitch competition will take place in Silicon Valley.
In the Calgary region, the program will begin with a 1-day kickoff event at the University of Calgary. Students will then meet with their mentors on a weekly basis at their schools to develop their project. The University of Calgary will host three 3-hour team meet-ups. The meet-ups are designed to help teams stay on track and receive timely feedback throughout the program.
Technovation is open to teams of up to 5 girls between the ages of 10 and 18.
Our goal is to host 24 teams: 12 junior and 12 senior teams.
Participation is free!
Are you ready to be part of the change?
The Technovation Challenge at the University of Calgary runs with support from our community. There are many ways that you can get involved in the program, and we can help you ﬁnd the role that makes the most sense for you.
Some examples of past support include:
- Financial sponsorships
- Financial support for demo equipment
- Company/facility tours
- Internships for participants after the program – Internships for program participants
- Company support for mentors volunteer time – Company sponsored business mentors
- Company support for judges volunteer time – Industry volunteer judges
- Prizes for the Regional Pitch Competition
- Conference tickets
- Coding workshop tickets
- Post-Technovation start-up mentoring
For more information about sponsorship opportunities with the Faculty of Science Technovation Regional Challenge, please contact:
Associate Director of Development
Faculty of Science
For student teams
Over the course of the program, you will be working with your business and technical mentors to learn to code, develop an app, and write a business plan that will help solve a problem in your community. Your team will present your app and business plan at the Regional Pitch Competition at the University of Calgary. You and your team are expected to commit to 4 hours per week of guided curriculum from January through April, attend the kick-off event in January, monthly meetings in February, March, and April, and the Regional Pitch Competition in May.
No prior programming skills are required. In fact, this entrepreneurship program needs team members with diverse skills, from artistic design to marketing to computer programming.
1. Form a team of 3-5 girls. A team will be in the junior division if all team members will be younger than 14-years old (inclusively) by August 1, 2019. Otherwise, the team must compete in the senior division.
2. Find a teacher/sponsor. A sponsor can be a teacher at your school, a volunteer from a local community (e.g., Ismaili Community) or an organization (e.g., Girl Guides), or a parent.
3. Pick a temporary team name.
4. Register at my.technovationchallenge.org. All members of the team (both students and sponsors) must register by November 20, 2018. When registering, please create a team and have all members properly join the team. Only students who are members of a team will be contacted by us.
5. Ask your sponsor to email your Regional Ambassador, Mea Wang (firstname.lastname@example.org), with the following information:
(a) A list of team members
(b) Weekly meeting location and a list of possible meeting times
6. Our Regional Ambassador will be in contact with you with further instructions and the appropriate consent forms.
The Technovation program engages two different types of mentors:
Business mentors are professionals who feel comfortable supporting teams of girls in the program while helping their team members become leaders. Business mentors use their industry or start-up knowledge to guide the girls through the Technovation program. They learn with their teams and help them problem solve, while also supervising the girls through their journey.
Technical mentors should have some coding experience and be willing to learn, or be comfortable with Android or iOS app development. Technical mentors will provide technical support for the team and assist them with coding issues. Technical mentors could be computer science students or have technology experience from other sources.
All mentors are provided with mentorship training before the program begins, with informal training and support continuing throughout the program.
- App Prototype Development
- How to conduct User Research
- How to create a Business Plan
- How to pitch their Business Plan
- Why technology skills are important
Technovation runs from January to May each year. Mentors are expected to commit approximately 4-5 hours per week working with a team and attend the weekly and monthly meetups.
1. Register at my.technovationchallenge.org. Please provide your contact information, your current position and affiliation.
2. Email Regional Ambassador, Mea Wang (email@example.com), with your expected weekly availability and flexibility between January and May 2019
3. Our Regional Ambassador will be in contact with you with further instructions and the appropriate consent forms.