Technovation Challenge aims to help young girls become tech entrepreneurs

Technovation Challenge, a global initiative that encourages young women to pursue tech entrepreneurship, is taking place in several cities across Canada including Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary.

Founded in Silicon Valley, Technovation is a 12-week challenge that teaches 10 to 18-year-old girls technical skills needed to help them develop a mobile app and launch a business.

Each week, the girls work in teams to solve community problems in sectors like education, health, and the environment. The teams are matched with women from global tech companies, who help them move through four stages of launching a mobile app startup: identifying a problem in the community, developing a solution, building a business plan, and taking the business to market.

Once their ideas are formed, the teams pitch their businesses and apps at pitch competitions in cities across the world.

Jennifer Francis, who leads Technovation’s Toronto chapter, is at the helm of the Toronto pitch competition taking place on May 13 at IBM. Among the judges is Karen Bozynski, a member of the board of directors of Girl Guides of Canada. Kristy Duncan, Canada’s minister of science, and Eve Medical’s CEO Jessica Ching will also be speaking at the event.

While Ottawa has already held its pitch competition, Calgary’s is also taking place this Saturday at the University of Calgary. The top teams from each city will move on to the semi-finals globally, where they will have a chance to win a spot in the top 10 to pitch at the World Pitch Summit in Silicon Valley from August 7 to 11.

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.