Three Canadian teams win big at global Technovation Challenge

Technovation challenge

The Technovation Challenge, a global initiative that encourages girls aged 10 to 18 to pursue tech entrepreneurship, has announced three Canadian teams as winners of its 2019 competition.

Two of the teams took home $1,000 scholarships, while one team will fly to Silicon Valley for World Pitch.

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.

Since 2010, more than 23,000 girls from over 100 countries have participated in Technovation. Technovation claims that 70 percent of its alumnae enroll in a computer science course, and 26 percent of its college alumnae major in computer science.

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The Canadian winners from this year’s Technovation Challenge are:

Cloud9 (Calgary): This project aims to help children address social anxiety through a three-step process. First, users share their experience with Charlie, a friendly digital dog. Then, a trustworthy and supportive digital therapist listens, asks questions, and offers advice to address social anxiety. Last, the Resource Hub shares stories from people with social anxiety, and links to local and online resources. Cloud9 was a named a junior division finalist and will be flown to Silicon Valley for World Pitch for a week of networking, field trips, workshops, and the chance to win scholarships.

Pharos (Toronto): This team developed a social media app that aims to expand seniors’ social groups, enhance their cognitive abilities, and improve their overall quality of life. Seniors can interact with each other by messaging and video calling. The project won a $1,000 scholarship as a regional winner.

A.I.D. or Aid in Disaster (Kitchener-Waterloo): This team created software that connects donors, emergency response organizations and governments after natural disasters to make sure survivors get the help they need. Victims share what they need and their location and response organizations can choose a region to focus on and access precise information about that region’s needs. Donors can see a list of needed resources. This project was also a regional winner and received a $1,000 scholarship.

Image courtesy University of Calgary

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast