Technovation Challenge: Teaching Girls to Create Phone Apps


October 25, 2012, by Dara Olmsted

“I want every girl and every woman to have that confidence that they can lead, that they can create something out of nothing. I think that is so empowering. ” – Dr. Anu Tewary

Technovation Challenge, a program that teaches high school girls about entrepreneurship and computer programming, was founded in the fall of 2009 by Dr. Anu Tewary of LinkedIn after attending StartUp Weekend in San Francisco.  She was so inspired by the empowering experience that she decided to bring the StartUp Weekend experience to high school girls and female mentors around the world. Now run by Iridescent, an engineering education non-profit, Technovation has served over 800 girls nationwide and is preparing to launch globally this fall.

“I see them as people who will go in there with an idea, without a technical background, leave school, create a company. And then they can employ women and minorities thereby changing the perception of computer science.”  – Omoju Miller, Instructor

Technovation Challenge: Don’t Just Use Apps, Make Them!

Technovation is a program for 8th-12th grade girls. Technovation overcomes firmly entrenched cultural biases that push girls away from computer science, technology, and entrepreneurship by giving them the skills and confidence they need to succeed. 94% of past participants now believe that a career in technology is a viable option for them.

Technovation 2011 Winning App- available on Google Play


How Does Technovation Work?

Technovation Challenge is a 12-week course where girls learn to create mobile phone apps and create a business plan. The girls work in teams and are paired with female mentors, who act as role models and project managers.  Teams are based in high schools or community hubs and meet after school. The curriculum is online, allowing girls to join from anywhere in the world. The optional fall Hack Day and field trips to tech companies round out the experience. At the end of the program, the teams create videos of their pitches that are judged by a panel of tech and business experts. Regional winners compete in the Technovation World Pitch Event in Silicon Valley for $10,000 in seed funding to develop their app for market.

“This program makes me feel like I could really make apps that could be wisely used by the world and also let me have a feeling of accomplishing something which could help ease the pressure of people and ease their life.” -2012 participant

Paper prototypes
Girls in NYC coding their apps




Pitch Night


Going Global: Bringing Technovation to Girls Around the World

Our goal is to scale up 2x every year (which we have done since 2010) and engage 1,000 girls and 200 female mentors in 2013. Join us! Sign up to be a Technovation ambassador, teacher, mentor, or student!


Please feel free to contact Tahani Zeid at for more information.  You can follow Technovation on TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr.







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