SFU Technovation team to represent Canada in the finals
A team of grade 8 girls from Vancouver is heading to Silicon Valley to pitch their app, Zero Waste, at the Technovation World Pitch Summit in August. And out of the 12 teams selected as finalists, they are the only one from Canada.
“This is great achievement,” says Daniela Abasi, who is the regional ambassador for the Technovation Challenge, and the outreach program manager for SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences.
“Having a Canadian team in the finals is a big deal, and this year that team is from Vancouver, which demonstrates the talent and determination we have among our local girls. They are committed to using technology to make a difference in the world, despite their young age.”
It was just last year that Abasi partnered with Technovation to make the technology entrepreneurship program more accessible to local girls. Through this partnership, SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences offers program mentorship, workshops and networking opportunities for local participants; the faculty also hosted the 2017 B.C. Regional Pitch Event in early May.
Technovation’s 12 week program challenges girls aged 10 to 18 years to develop programming skills and build an app that addresses a community issue. For team 3BigTomatoes, the pressing issue they selected is one we all can relate to – how can we be smarter in sorting waste and recyclables?
“This team has a strong proposal,” says Abasi. “Deciding to tackle an environmental issue is ambitious, but they have focused on creating an app that will help both children and adults. If we become more aware of our actions every time we put something into the garbage or recycling bin, we can do our part in helping protect this planet.”
The team’s app, ZeroWaste, provides a fun and interactive way to learn about sorting waste and local community waste-collection rules. It uses pictures, videos and games to promote the concept of zero waste, and encourages users to develop practices that will minimize items being sent to the landfill.
In addition to having a junior team in the finals, another Canadian team was selected as a runner-up in the senior division category. Sugar-Coded, a team from West Vancouver, built an app titled Raise It, which helps users build their self-confidence. Their app pitch helped them secure the first place prize at the B.C. regional competition.
The World Pitch Summit will be held on August 7-11 in Silicon Valley. In addition to the final pitch competition, the event will also provide attendees the opportunity to network with women in technology and learn how to build a successful career in this field. As a finalist, 3BigTomatoes will be flown to Silicon Valley by Technovation to participate. Team Sugar-Coded will also have opportunity to attend the event thanks to travel funding provided by SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences and SFU Technovation sponsors TELUS, Visier and Safe Software.
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 launched the SFU Technovation workshops and events to encourage participation among local girls. Abasi is one of four regional ambassadors across Canada, and the only one in B.C. The 2017 program at SFU was 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 11,000 girls in over 100 countries.