A national movement aimed at increasing the number of female mobile developers is soon arriving in Minnesota.
TechnovationMN aspires to engage teams of high school or middle school girls to dream up, design, code and pitch mobile phone apps.
Started by Anuranjita Tewary in 2009 after a Startup Weekend event, Technovation has since become part of California non-profit Iridescent as it spreads across the country into different regions, cities and communities.
Teaming up to lead TechnovationMN locally are Matthew Johnson of Target & Shawn Stavseth, a local marketing technologist. They’ve been collaborating with catalyst CodeSavvy, a multifaceted nonprofit driven by Rebecca Schatz that has played a key role in CoderDojoTC, and other initiatives in computer science education.
“”Inadequate computing education shortchanges all kids, but especially girls and youth of color,” Stavseth says, citing the need for TechnovationMN.
Technovation’s first step is a half day event held on November 17th titled “Girls, Make Your Own Mobile App!” where girls ages 11-19 will be gathering with volunteer mentors to learn how to code using the Android App Inventor tool. From there, teams will form for February when the challenge to develop a real-world working app will officially being.
“Our aim is to see 10 teams competing at different local schools by February,” Johnson says of the plan. “We see a large opportunity to bring together the corporate world with educators and volunteers to really make a difference for Minnesota.”
Eight partner schools are confirmed so far throughout the Twin Cities and each team is composed of five girls, 2-3 mentors and one teacher. In true entrepreneurial spirit, TechnovationMN will culminate in a local pitch day event come April.
“We have interest from a dozen female mentors so far and welcome more to join the movement,” Stavseth adds.