Appapalooza 2021 – We Are Back!
We celebrate! At Technovation[MN]’s Appapalooza, we celebrate by providing the girls who have completed the Technovation Challenge, an opportunity to live pitch their mobile app innovations to a panel of esteemed judges from our Minnesota business community. We celebrate by connecting with each other. We celebrate the women in technology who have inspired us. We celebrate with prizes and fun. We celebrate by honoring the best of the best.
Appapalooza 2021 brought us back together to celebrate but still required a virtual format to keep all attendees safe and healthy. We kicked off the event by honoring the 2020 semi-finalist teams who did not get their time on stage due to the pandemic cancelation. This video honors their efforts and highlights the many ways they are helping to build a more sustainable future. Thank you for your inspiration.
Jade Denson, the emcee extraordinaire and Vice President of Programming & Member Experience for the Minnesota Technology Association, kicked off the celebration. Jade’s energy was contagious! She helped us navigate the new virtual platform and told us an amazing story about Joy Buolamwini and how she is helping to make tools in technology equitable for everyone.
Our pitch rooms were named after our top sponsors, Cargill, U.S. Bank, IBM, and Securian Financial as well as women in technology who are role models including Dr. Fei Fei Li, Jessica O Matthews, Megan Smith, Dr Ellen Ochoa, and Mangala Mani. If you are not familiar with these sponsors and technologists, you need to look them up and learn. They are worthy of rock star status!
Caroline Karanja, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Guided Pulse and Hack the Gap, was the keynote speaker. Caroline is an innovative leader with a passion for making technology welcoming for all. She talked to the girls about her journey from English to technology, how she experimented and followed her curiosity. Her message to the girls, “there is a role in technology for everyone”. We agree, Caroline, there definitely is!
We were treated to an awe-inspiring integration of technology and art with artist Linnea Maas and REM5. Linnea created a virtual world in front of our eyes and walked us through spiral clouds, spiked sea horses, and gleaming water. REM5 provided a fantastic video that showed us three views, from the artists eyes, an audience view, and what REM5 saw as they were filming Linnea.
This year, 150 girls were part of 34 teams and 34 schools, coached by 67 mentors and evaluated by 45 judges. These girls and mentors worked thousands of hours planning and coding their apps and defining their businesses. Their pitches showed the results of their hard work and we saw words in the chat like inspiring, creative, awesome, impressive, varied, proud, brave, cool kids, and polished to describe their efforts. In all, 375 people joined Appapalooza and celebrated the achievements of these girls.
From your inspiring chats, show of knowledge in the Events game, poll answers, Gallery wall sponsored by Mentormate, pitch participation and audience encouragement, and awards ceremony, you showed your engagement throughout.
Enjoy your commemorative program here.
The 2020-2021 Technovation[MN] season was challenging to say the least. These girls and mentors have endured 14 months of nothing but virtual connections. Technology has encompassed school, connecting with family and friends, work, shopping, extracurricular activities – it’s been our life. Our increasing dependence on technology shows us that technology needs to be built with the best interest of all people in mind. Diverse teams building technology is the best way to ensure the future is equitable and inclusive. These girls are focused on solving challenges in their community. My view of the future is optimistic, knowing they will have a role in our future technology workforce pipeline.
Congratulations to these amazing technologists and entrepreneurs!