Technovation Ottawa Welcomes Global Ambassador Anar Simpson To Launch The 2016 Challenge

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Technovation emphasizes the importance of young women stepping up and taking their place in the world of information and communications technology

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Anar Simpson, the Global Ambassador for Technovation will be in Ottawa on Sunday, January 17, to speak to a group of young women taking part in the regional Technovation challenge, an exciting opportunity that empowers youth through technology and learning. She will be joining Dr. Roseann Runte, President of Carleton University, in welcoming the students to the 2016 Technovation Challenge. The event takes place at Carleton University, St. Patrick’s Building, 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Technovation, an international competition to create mobile applications, aims to foster technology and entrepreneurial abilities among girls aged 10 to 18. Regional Technovation chapters coordinate with local school boards to introduce the program and recruit teams of high school girls. Thanks to the efforts of Jennifer Francis, board member of Women Powering Technology (Ottawa), an Ottawa chapter of Technovation was established in 2015 with 50 students participating.

“Encouraging women in ICT can transform the industry with greater innovation and diversity. The girls competing in the Technovation challenge are part of the generation of young women who can complete that transformation,” says Francis.

This year, participation has doubled with over 100 students. Sponsors of the program include local high tech companies Shopify, IBM, Pythian, L-Spark and Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management program. Technovation Ottawa is also supported with a grant from the U.S. Embassy, Ottawa.

“The program teaches young girls not only the basics of building an app but also the skills to become tech entrepreneurs - it is hugely empowering for them to attempt to address a problem they see in their local community with the help of technology” says Simpson, a Canadian technologist now based in Silicon Valley, who has helped grow the program to more than 60 countries around the world and hopes that this will create pipeline of young girls participating in the technology arena. The University of Calgary, Simpson’s alma mater awarded her the Distinguished Alumna Award 2015 for her work in the field of women, girls and technology.

Technovation Ottawa will kickoff on January 17 with an App Development day. Over 12 weeks the teams will learn mobile app development and entrepreneurship. In May, all teams will pitch their business plan and app to a group of local judges for a regional competition, with the winner receiving a prize sponsored by Shopify. Judges represent the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the government of Canada’s IRAP program, the L-Spark enterprise software incubator and accelerator, Carleton University and the event’s sponsors. Last year Merivale’s, Women with Ambition, and |Power|, a team from Colonel By, were selected to advance to the final round. In the end, the Merivale team won out and the Colonel By team went on to be the youngest entrepreneurs ever to be accepted into Carleton’s Lead to Win, a business acceleration program for start-ups with high growth potential.

About Technovation Challenge
Over a period of 12 weeks, teams with three to five members, mentored by a women in tech, learn how to develop a concept for an application addressing an issue or need identified in their community, map out a business plan, and create a prototype app, all while learning the basics of marketing and programming. The teams meet weekly at one of the local high-tech sponsors facilities - IBM, Pythian, Shopify and L-Spark. At the weekly meet ups volunteers from Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management Program (TIM) deliver the curriculum, and guest speakers join to inspire the students on related topics.

Technovation’s Ottawa chapter will receive support from local high-tech sponsors, IBM, Pythian and Shopify, and a grant from the U.S. Embassy, Ottawa. In November 2015 Pythian announced their Pythia program. The program is about finding, retaining, and advancing top female minds in tech to increase the diversity of the Pythian talent. In addition, Carleton University provides volunteers from their TIM program to act as coaches who deliver the curriculum. The Ottawa chapter is managed by Women Powering Technology. Globally, Technovation is sponsored by Adobe Foundation, Google, Verizon, CA Technologies, Intel and Oracle, in partnership with UN Women, UNESCO and MIT Media Lab.

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Jennifer Francis
Women Powering Technology
+1 613 520 2600 Ext: 3304
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