B.C. girls build apps to address homelessness, ESL challenges and other community issues
SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences hosted the 2018 Technovation B.C. Regional Pitch Competition on May 5 and 6 at the SFU Burnaby campus. The event is part of the Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship competition for girls aged 10 to 18 years.
Through Technovation’s 12-week curriculum, girls develop computer programming and business skills and build apps to address a community issue. At the B.C. regional competition this weekend, local teams pitched their apps to a panel of expert judges, which included members from tech companies—Visier, Safe Software, Microsoft and AxiomZen—and SFU’s School of Computing Science, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, and Beedie School of Business.
First, second and third place prizes were presented by Technovation B.C. regional ambassador Daniela Abasi, who is also the manager of outreach programs for SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences. Since 2016, Abasi has been leading the B.C. chapter of Technovation, with support from sponsors TELUS Vancouver Community Board, Visier and Safe Software.
26 teams from Lower Mainland and Kelowna are representing B.C. in this year’s competition. The first and second place winners selected from the junior and senior divisions automatically advance to the next of the round of the competition and will be judged online during the remainder of the Technovation Challenge. Teams that are selected as finalists will be invited to pitch their apps at the World Pitch Summit in Silicon Valley this August for a chance to win up to $15,000 in scholarships.
In 2017, two Technovation B.C. teams were the only Canadians in the top 24 teams ranked globally. A junior division team of grade 8 girls from Vancouver represented Canada in the finals by presenting ZeroWaste, an app that assists individuals in sorting waste and recyclables based on their local community waste-collection rules.
The winning teams from the 2018 Technovation B.C. Regional Pitch Competition are listed below:
SENIOR DIVISION APPS (15-18 year olds)
First Place - Athena (North Vancouver)
Athena is an app to help new immigrants learn English with a focus on improving their writing skills.
Second Place - StreetSource (Coquitlam)
StreetSource is an app to help homeless individuals and outreach workers find resources in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside area.
Third Place - QUAKESAFE (West Vancouver)
QUAKESAFE is an app to help prepare Greater Vancouver residents for earthquakes.
JUNIOR DIVISION APPS (10-14 year olds)
First Place - ShowerDuck (Burnaby)
ShowerDuck is an app that teaches children about water conservation by tracking how much water they use and waste.
Second Place - IMpower (Port Coquitlam)
IMpower is an app to help girls overcome their insecurities.
Third Place - VanSheltr (Vancouver)
VanSheltr is an app to help homeless individuals in Vancouver find shelter and beds
ABOUT SFU's PARTNERSHIP WITH TECHNOVATION:
Daniela Abasi, manager of outreach programs for SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences, became a regional ambassador for Technovation in 2016, and has been leading the Technovation B.C. chapter by running workshops and events to encourage participation among local girls, and connecting participants with industry mentors from the local technology and business community. Technovation B.C. is supported by generous contributions from the TELUS Vancouver Community Board, Visier and Safe Software.
Technovation is a technology entrepreneurship program for girls aged 10 to 18. It aims to develop their technology and business skills and teach them how to apply these skills to real-world problems. Over the 12-week curriculum, participants identify an issue in their community, build an app prototype, develop a business plan and pitch their idea to a panel of judges. Since its inception in 2010, Technovation has reached more than 15,000 girls in over 100 countries.