Women are largely underrepresented in entrepreneurship and technology. In fact, “one third of entrepreneurs are women, 4 in 1,000 female college freshmen want to major in computer science, and 50% of women who are in STEM careers leave the workforce.” This is according to Technovation, a program of the nonprofit Iridescent, that aims to change these statistics by educating and inspiring girls to solve real-world problems through technology.
Each year, middle school, high school, and university girls and young women from around the world work in teams to develop mobile applications (apps) to solve problems in their communities and compete for $20,000 in rewards. Last year 1,500 girls from 26 countries participated!
All of the projects submitted to Technovation in 2014 are truly impressive and will clearly make a positive impact in their communities. These young girls and women are changing the world with innovative ideas and we congratulate each and every one of them.
Here are the 10 finalists for Technovation 2014:
1. Helping consumers “go local” in Canada
The team from the University of Calgary created Crop2Commuinity, an awesome app that uses a centralized database to help connect consumers with local food producers in Calgary, Canada. These girls are all about the “farm-to-table” revolution and found a creative way to promote healthy eating habits and support community businesses.
2. Need a public toilet in Lagos? There’s an app for that!
A passionate group of high school girls from Lagos, Nigeria wanted to address the public sanitation challenges in their city. They developed LagToilet, a searchable database of publicly accessible toilets in the city of Lagos. What an inspiring group of young ladies!
3. A South Korean app helping people “go green” and spend smarter
These smart and creative teens from South Korea designed Rapid Receipt, an app for electronically storing and organizing your receipts. Not only does Rapid Receipt help to promote “going green” by replacing paper receipts with electronic ones, but it also encourages smarter consumer habits! Don’t you think this app would make your life so much easier? I know I do!
4. Making drinking water safer in Moldova
In communities where little drinkable water exists and water-borne diseases are rampant, ApaPura can save lives. ApaPura, created by a group of innovative high school girls in Moldova, provides a map that illustrates the locations of all the wells in one’s community and surrounding areas. The girls also seek to facilitate informed decision-making by giving users information about the status of each well based on levels of organisms and chemicals as well as offering solutions for how to treat their water. Not your everyday science-fair project.
5. An interactive way to protect the Amazon
GreenBaby, an interactive app created by high schoolers in Brazil, educates users about ecological problems, such as deforestation and climate change. The best part of GreenBaby? Users can adopt a tree that will be planted in the Amazon rainforest—what an awesome way to engage people in sustainable efforts to save the Amazon and reverse deforestation!
6. Making traveling safer for those with food allergies
Four high school girls from Freemont, California realized that traveling to foreign countries can be very stressful for those with food allergies or dietary restrictions. So, they capitalized on the universality of technology and created Foodini—an app that translates users’ dietary restrictions and needs into many languages. How cool!
7. Relax and unwind with this cool app!
I mean, who doesn’t need an app that helps you relax and unwind? The Northgate STEM Girls from California know that the negative consequences of stress can be very damaging to teens and adults alike, so they developed Unwind to reduce stress by providing tools and games aimed at stress-relief and promoting mental health!
8. An SOS app that every teen wants and needs
A major problem for American teenagers is peer-pressure. The girls from Massachusetts who designed SecretPigeon want to find a way to help teens safely exit dangerous or delicate situations by discretely sending SOS texts to family and friends. This app is awesome because it gives every parent and every teenager a peace of mind.
9. Making teens feel safer in their communities
The New York City-based teens behind SafeTeen are promoting mental health among US teenagers by partnering with National Safe Place to connect teens to local hotlines and safe spaces. Through Google Maps, users can locate shelters and youth centers nearby. What an amazing idea!
10. Have more fun on field trips with this helpful app
The middle school girls from New York, New York (that’s right, middle school) who created FieldTripper really love field trips; so they wanted to created an app to improve field trip logistics for all participants, including managing permission slips, tracking buses, and updating itineraries. Way to go, girls!
Every girl who participated in Technovation 2014 is awesome and inspiring, and we cannot wait to see what Technovation 2015 has to offer!
Learn more about Technovation here.