Author: Shawn Stavseth

2017 Technovation Challenge Registration is Open!

Calling all girls, mentors, and volunteers! Registration for the Global Technovation Challenge is now open.
REGISTER FOR 2017
2017 SEASON TIMELINE

Registration Opens: October 1, 2016
Individual & Team Registration Deadline: March 8, 2017
Submission Deadline: April 26, 2017
World Pitch Summit: August 7-11, 2017

Every year, Technovation challenges girls all over the world to build a mobile app that will address a community problem. Since 2009:

  • 10,000 girls have participated inTechnovation from over 78 countries
  • Over 2,400 professionals have built a global network of support for Technovation girls as mentors, educators and regional ambassadors
  • Over 1,700 mobile apps have been created by Technovation participants

Girls, whether you are an athlete, musician, love fashion, or want to explore medicine, coding can help you pursue your interests now and create greater career options and job security for your future. Imagine building an app that you can have on your own phone. Come find out what it is all about!

Volunteers and mentors, there is no technical expertise necessary to become involved and support getting more girls into STEM careers through Technovation!

Note to past mentors & coaches: the coach and mentor roles have been consolidated for 2017.

Why is it so important to inspire girls to learn to code?

Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce. –NSF Science and Engineering Indicators, 2016

In 2014 women held on 26% of computing occupations, down from 36% in 1991 – NCWIT, Women in IT: The Facts

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings. At current rates, however, we can only fill about 30% of those jobs with U.S. computing bachelor’s grads.

Girls represent a valuable, mostly untapped talent pool – Exploring Computer Science/Resources/cs-statistics
If current trends continue, by 2018 the information technology industry will only be able to fill half of its available jobs. – NCWIT, Women in IT: The Facts

The fraction of women among bachelor’s graduates has decreased in Computer Science, from 37% in 1984 to 11.7% in 2010/2011. – Women Computing Association Computing Degree and Enrollment Trends

Only about one out of every seven engineers is female. – U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration

And finally Minnesota ranks 47 out of 50 in Computer Science standards. (YIKES) – Computer Science Teachers Association, Running on Empty.

If girls are inspired to see that Computer Science can make the world more beautiful, more safe, more innovative, even more healthy, then hopefully they will begin to contribute their essential voices.

Join us in inspiring our Minnesota girls to do great things through tech.

Use the green button to sign up above!

MN Aspirations in Computing Awards

We’re excited to share with you an annual award offering career inspiring opportunities for female students in your Minnesota high school who have technology interests and aspirations. Young women in grades 9-12 are invited to apply for the fifth annual Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Awards, hosted by Advance IT Minnesota and prominent local partners.

Last year, 30 winners and runners-up from across the state were honored with the award and an additional 22 young women received certificates of distinction. Overall honoree recognition increased more than 50% from the previous year. One Minnesota winner also received national recognition.

Students can start their applications for the award.

Watch the highlight video of the 2016 Aspirations ceremony (2:28)
Bonus: Watch the highlight video of the 2015 Aspirations ceremony (2:44)

Please share this amazing opportunity and support young women in your school!
Application Period: Sept. 1 – Nov. 7, 2016

LEARN MORE and APPLY.

We are hiring!

Technovation[MN] is looking for a project manager intern to help implement this year’s Technovation Challenge. If you are passionate about technology and want to do something to get more girls involved in the innovation of products this role is for you.

Contact Us to apply.

Our ideal candidate is someone who is obsessed with details. Someone who is proactive vs reactive and creative in getting things done.

What You Will Learn:
1. How to create and manage an implementation and communications plan.
2. Effectively manage a community of supporters in Salesforce.
3. How to manage email lists and design and schedule email communications through MailChimp.
4. Update a WordPress website.
5. Create compelling content that will be shared with our supporters.
6. Assist Board Chairs and Committees in completing program tasks.
7. Plenty of additional opportunities in related projects.

What We Require:
1. Background in Project Management or other related fields
2. Strong communication skills.
3. Proficient in Microsoft Suite Office and Google.
4. Familiarity with a few of the following solutions: Salesforce, WordPress, MailChimp, Dropbox, Eventbrite, and Trello.
5. Pragmatic and results driven personality.
6. Organized, with an ability to prioritize time-sensitive assignments.
7. Interest in nonprofit management and community development.

You will become knowledgeable in how a non-profit operates and you will also learn how to work in a professional environment and have ample opportunity to network with board members and other professional volunteers.

Details:
The position begins September 1 and ends May 15. You are expected to work 4 hours a week at a location of your preference. This is a volunteer internship.

Contact Us to apply.

Technovation[MN] receives grant from Amazon

Amazon today announced plans for a new technology development center in downtown Minneapolis that will create 100 full-time, technology-focused jobs. To celebrate Amazon’s expansion in the Minneapolis community, Amazon is donating $10,000 plus mentoring support to local nonprofit Code Savvy to help the group’s mission of encouraging youth’s understanding of coding and promoting diversity in the technology industry. Amazon currently has hundreds of employees in Minnesota and is in the process of hiring an additional 1,000 full-time employees for its new Shakopee, Minnesota, fulfillment center.

“I’m excited that Amazon is bringing 100 new, high-tech jobs to Minneapolis,” remarked Representative Raymond Dehn (DFL-Minneapolis). “Not only will they be creating good paying jobs in an area of need, they’ve chosen to donate $10,000 to Code Savvy, a non-profit that teaches inner-city kids to code so they may have a better future. Minneapolis has been a leader in technology and I’m pleased to welcome Amazon to our community.”

As part of the company’s expansion in Minneapolis and its commitment to the local community, Amazon will be donating $10,000 to Code Savvy to fund the nonprofit’s Technovation[MN] program. The program focuses on technology entrepreneurship led by girls that helps participants build problem-solving apps and create business plans. Amazon employees at the new office will also be offering mentoring support to Code Savvy.

“Code Savvy is so thrilled that Amazon is expanding their technology team to the Minneapolis area and has honored us with a donation to our all-girl entrepreneurship and app development program, Technovation[MN]. Welcome to the Code Savvy community!” said Jean Weiss, executive director of Code Savvy. “In addition to this much needed funding, we are looking forward to the Amazon team participating as mentors in the program and hosting teams on field trips at their sites. Our thriving tech community will be a great place for Amazon’s expanded venture and we look forward to working closely with them on this and other Code Savvy programs going forward.”

To learn more about job opportunities with Amazon in Minnesota, visit www.amazon.jobs/minneapolis-mn.

See Amazon’s Full Press Release

And the winners are….

What an incredible day…….Congrats to every single girl who pitched today!  These 7 teams will be entered into the semi-final round of the World Pitch Competition.

MIDDLE SCHOOL REGIONAL WINNERS

In no particular order.

J.A.T.S with Ace Assisted from St. Francis Assisi, Rochester MN
Ace Assisted is an app that help you find the perfect Rochester-area assisted living center.

   

 

Computer Glitz with Meals on Wheels from Dakota Hills Middle School, Eagan MN
The Meals on Wheels app improves the lives of Meals on Wheels clients, eases the work of volunteers, and connects people in the Meals on Wheels system.

 

Furst-Class Techies with Mission 2020 from Kasson-Mantorville Schools, Kasson-Mantorville MN
This educational app brings awareness to sex trafficking.  It provides facts, vocabulary, red flags, reasons victims stay and additional resources for obtaining help.

 

Wayfinders with subWayfinder from St. John the Evangelist, Rochester MN
Do you have problems navigating the Rochester-Mayo subway?  SubWAYfinder addresses problems such as finding places to eat, shop, and anything in between.

 

Tech-ATS with Help! I’m Hungry from BDPA Middle School, Rochester MN
Help! I’m Hungry is an easy way to find free food for people who can not afford to buy meals or groceries.

 

HIGH SCHOOL REGIONAL WINNERS

Team Tator-Tot with CharterConnect from Avalon School, St. Paul MN
CharterConnect works as a resource bank, a network for teachers to connect and an event calendar, all in one.

 

Feminists & STEMinists with Volunteerium from Byron School, Byron MN
Our app “Volunteerium” will connect small communities, starting with our hometown of Byron, Minnesota

Congratulations to all 50 MN teams for completing your submissions to Global! See you at Appapalooza May 1.

All 50 teams from Minnesota completed their 12-weeks of technology entrepreneur curriculum and submitted their mobile apps that solve a social problem to the Technovation Challenge.  Congratulations to you all!  What a huge accomplishment.  We are very excited to see you and hear your app pitches, not to mention celebrate your success, at Appapalooza on 5/1.  It’s party time!

This piece was composed by Tara Chklovski, founder and CEO of Iridescent, to recognize the achievements of all Technovation program participants.

Do you feel the same?
Tara Chklovski

I failed at something that I had worked all my life to try to accomplish.
Has that ever happened to you?
It shakes your confidence. You don’t know what is real anymore.
You don’t have a foundation.
Your image of yourself is shattered.

I went under a shell. It was warm.
But I got restless.
I wanted to do something big, something larger than myself
Something that would help improve the lives of others.

I decided to start something new — a nonprofit
That would inspire children all over the world
To change their own worlds for the better
Because children often know best

But starting is so hard.
I had never started anything before in my life.
I didn’t know how to.
Would I be successful?
What is success anyway?
Does success even matter?
Who defines success and labels it as such?
Have you ever wondered that?

I was scared to start.
But then my husband dared me to start.
And I did.

That was ten years ago.
Iridescent is a global education nonprofit now
Helping thousands of young people
Change their worlds around them
By innovating and being brave.

I needed a little push, even if it was just a trivial dare.

Did Technovation give you that little push?
To program a mobile app?
To launch a startup?

If someone asked you last year, “Are you a technology entrepreneur?”
What would you have said then?
What would you say today?
You may not feel it right now, but you have just accomplished something amazing.
Something most adults never experience.
Something only the very brave undertake and accomplish.
The task of creating something new – something that didn’t exist before.
Congratulations!

Do you remember just three months ago?
Being nervous about programming an app
Even setting up the emulator was hard. You couldn’t find the instructions page.
You were thinking, “If I can’t set up the emulator, how am I going to get through the whole 12 weeks?”
But you quieted that inner voice.
And kept following instructions one line after one line

And then you realized that you were doing it – you were programming!
And then there was the sheer delight of creating your first app that talks back to you!
A meowing kitty!
Simple.
Joyful.
Because you created it.
You couldn’t have done that last year.
Now you can, because you were brave enough to try

Do you remember being surprised by how hard it was to work with other people?
Other people who feel just as passionately about the app as you.
But they saw things slightly differently – from you
Do you remember having angry conversations?
Trying to convince others you were right
Then learning that the team is more important than the app
That was a surprising, pepperminty feeling
And you re-learn that everyday!
I do too 🙂

Do you remember doing market research?
(Last year did you know what that term meant?)
Do you remember the feeling of panic
When you found that five other apps actually do what you had set out to do?
And they looked way cooler.
I felt the same.
And I continue to feel the same every time I do a scan of the environment.
But the panic lessens.
You become more confident each day, each year.
You learn that you are unique and the world needs you.
Your gifts. Your dedication. Your passion.

Stay strong.
It takes time to grow into an oak.

You are looking into the camera. App submission day. April 21, 2016, 5 PM PST.
You force a smile that you don’t feel in your eyes.
Why is it that nervousness makes your mouth dry, but your hands wet?
You really want to brush your hands through your hair once more, but maybe that wouldn’t be professional?
You worry that your skirt is not as nice as the others’
You stay strong.

You did it! Your team did it.
What a special feeling of peace and calm. The movies always show high energy teams high-five-ing each other.
Is it strange that you just feel relieved?
You feel that you should text and tell your mom.
After all, this is the first time you created something that will change the world – your world.
It’s so big and important, yet quiet.

You get an automated email saying “Thank you for your submission”.
What happens next?
You learned so much.
There must be a next step.
But no one has told you what to do next.

Maybe this is the next stage to grow as a leader.
Maybe you can teach another girl
The magic of creating something using technology
The magic of working together to bring an idea to life.
And then she will go and teach another girl

And she another

And she another…And she another…

Maybe thats how we all will change the world for the better.

 

Summer Camps

Get ready for Summer with these STEM camps.

Technovation[MN] at Microsoft Community Day – June 17. Watch for more details.

Abamath Summer Programs

University of MN Summer Computing Academy for female High School students

Macalester College SPARCS at Mac Tech Camp for Minnesota Girls

Advanced IT Minnestota Camp Explore

The Works Museum Summer Programs

Leonardos Basement

Two of Minnesota’s Youngest App Developers Earn Exclusive Invitation to the White House

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 13, 2016) — Kasson-Mantorville Middle School students and Technovation Global Challenge participants Lydia Mindermann and Andrea Richards are presenting their family-friendly stress-reduction app at the 6th Annual White House Science Fair in Washington, D.C. on April 13 – showing off the fruits of more than a year of hard work in the highest-profile setting available to middle school app developers.

Mindermann and Richards were invited to share their story alongside dozens of other ambitious young techies who’ve devoted months or years to tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems, from climate change and chronic disease to global poverty and spaceflight.

“We are so proud of Lydia and Andrea, and are delighted that they will have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share their community-focused app at the White House,” said Tara Chklovski, CEO of Iridescent, Technovation Global Challenge’s nonprofit parent organization. “These young women, alongside their Technovation peers, have already proven that they’re ready and eager to apply their new entrepreneurial skills and can-do spirit to solve tomorrow’s problems and we are proud to support them.”

Rochester-area developers Mindermann and Richards represent two-thirds of Team Furst Class, a 2015 Technovation Global Challenge finalist and Audience Choice Award winner. Mindermann, Richards, and fellow developer Rylee Melius beat out nearly 400 other teams of middle- and high-schoolers from around the world – as far away as Nigeria, Brazil and India – to join just three other middle school teams and six high school teams as Technovation Global Challenge finalists. The 10 teams presented to a panel of tech industry executives at Technovation’s World Pitch Summit, held in San Francisco last June.

Team Furst Class’s app, Mayo FreeTime, helps Mayo Clinic patients and family members pass time and stay positive between appointments in and around Mayo’s Rochester campus. Locally, Mayo FreeTime was recognized by Mayo Clinic itself and featured in multiple media outlets, including WCCO Radio and the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Sponsored at Kasson-Mantorville Middle School by teacher Sharie Furst and mentored by Rochester-area IBMer Kris Kendall, Team Furst Class began developing Mayo FreeTime in late 2014. They worked alongside more than 25 other Minnesota teams – and well over 100 girls overall – to prepare for Technovation[MN]’s Appapalooza, one of the largest World Pitch Summit feeder events in the United States.

At Appapalooza 2015, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Team Furst Class pitched to over 100 attendees – mentors, teachers, parents, fellow students, community members and media professionals – in a dry run for the international event.

 

Judges Needed – A Unique Opportunity

Guest post by Kate Boeckman, Judging Chair

The Technovation Challenge season has three weeks to go, and on April 21st, the teams will be submitting their final projects. Technovation[MN] has been selected to be an Official Pitch Event for the Technovation Challenge, and with this honor we have the opportunity to judge the teams in Minnesota. Four middle school teams and one high school team will advance to the semi-final round. From there, an elite group of semi-finalists from around the globe will win a trip to present their pitches to the final judging panel in Silicon Valley.

We are looking for a variety of technical, marketing and entrepreneurial professionals to judge our 40 middle school and 10 high school teams. Using the Official Judging Rubric, each judge will review materials from up to 10 Technovation[MN] teams between April 22 and April 29. We estimate this will require about an hour for each team. Then, the final judging will take place at the Appapalooza on Sunday afternoon, May 1, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, where each team will present their pitch to a live audience.

Becoming a Technovation[MN] judge is a unique opportunity to:

  •  Network with Minnesota’s mobile app community;
  •  Be seen as an industry leader and promoter; and
  •  Most importantly, inspire girls to contribute their own essential voices through technology, computer science, and entrepreneurship to help make the world a better place.

Please complete the Technovation[MN] Judging Application no later than April 8 if you are interested in being considered for this exciting opportunity to inspire a diverse new code-savvy generation! We encourage you to apply. We will get back to you by April 14. Judging panels will be selected to balance area of expertise and gender.

 

 

Call for Appapalooza Volunteers

Guest post from Rita Horrigan, Appapalooza Volunteer Coordinator

Appapalooza 2016 will take place on Sunday, May 1 from 2-5pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center. We will need several volunteers to pull off this year’s event as we are expecting over 150 participants and 400 attendees! If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up using the instructions below:
We’re using VolunteerSpot (the leading online signup and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming activity.

Please sign up for Technovation[MN]’s Appapalooza Event!

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:
1. Click here to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot.
2. Enter your email address. (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.

Feel free to forward this email to others that may be interested in volunteering. The week of April 24th, you will receive additional information regarding your shift and responsibilities.

Thank you for helping us celebrate young women transforming the world one mobile app at a time!

Submit your apps for $20K in prize money

We are a proud supporter of the 12th annual MN Cup AND the competition’s new YOUTH DIVISION! $20,000 in prize money available for MN’s young entrepreneurs. Learn more at carlsonschool.umn.edu/youthdivision.

This new division for young people is about supporting and fostering a specific mindset around entrepreneurship. Young people who advance in the competition will benefit from numerous opportunities including connecting with a cohort of other young entrepreneurs. For any entrepreneur, no matter what age, networking and connecting with like-minded innovators can be a great learning experience and help them feel like they’re not alone in their journey as an entrepreneur.

Submit your apps girls!

carlsonschool.umn.edu/youthdivision

Tara Chklovski to speak at Appapalooza

Exciting news!  Tara Chklovski, Founder and CEO of Iridescent, the organization that facilitates the Global Technovation Challenge in San Francisco, will speak at Appapalooza on May 1.

Iridescent strives to bring the world’s most cutting edge STEM innovations to the world’s most needy children. It does this by relying heavily on scientists and engineers as well as parents. Over the past decade Iridescent has trained more than 3000 scientists and engineers to inspire and support more than 30,000 underserved children and parents. Its two core programs are the Curiosity Machine and Technovation.

Tara has an undergraduate degree in Physics, a M.S in Aerospace Engineering, and is a part-time faculty member at the Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Southern California.

Motto: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting stronger and faster.” – Santilhano
 

Check out some of her latest blog posts:

What Can Mentoring Organizations Learn From Each Other?

How to be a great mentor

2016 Registration is Open!

Calling all girls, mentors and coaches! Registration for the Global Technovation Challenge is now open.

REGISTER FOR 2016

Every year, Technovation challenges girls all over the world to build a mobile app that will address a community problem. Since 2010, over 3,000 girls from 28 countries have submitted to Technovation, thanks to dedicated volunteers around the world.

GIRLS
Whether you are an athlete or an musician, love fashion, or want to explore medicine, coding can help you pursue your interests now and create greater career options and job security for your future. Imagine building an app that you can have on your own phone. Come find out what it is all about.

COACHES/MENTORS
Why is it so important to inspire girls to learn to code?

If current trends continue, by 2018 the information technology industry will only be able to fill half of its available jobs. – NCWIT, Women in IT: The Facts

The fraction of women among bachelor’s graduates has decreased in Computer Science, from 37% in 1984 to 11.7% in 2010/2011. – Women Computing Association Computing Degree and Enrollment Trends

Only about one out of every seven engineers is female. – U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration

And finally Minnesota ranks 47 out of 50 in Computer Science standards. (YIKES) – Computer Science Teachers Association, Running on Empty.

If girls are inspired to see that Computer Science can make the world more beautiful, more safe, more innovative, even more healthy, then hopefully they will begin to contribute their essential voices. Join us in inspiring our Minnesota girls to do great things through tech.

REGISTER FOR 2016

CodeGirl Debut!

We are so excited to share news of the new documentary CodeGirl, which follows Technovation teams during the 2015 season. Made by Lesley Chilcott (producer of An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman), this film aims to inspire more girls all over the world to pursue their interests in STEM and entrepreneurship.

We want as many people as possible to see CodeGirl and support girls to help build and create the future of tech. We could use your help.

LIMITED TIME VIEWING: CodeGirl will be available for free on YouTube through 11/5/15.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Show your support and spread the word: Tell people why supporting girls’ STEM aspirations matters to you and how you’re going to support CodeGirl and Technovation. Remember to use #codegirlmovie and #technovation on social media!

Plan a Viewing Party or Attend a Screening: CodeGirl is about girls working together, and that message is most powerful when people watch it together. Plan a viewing party or host a screening (or attend one happening near you!). Visit codegirl.technovationchallenge.org to find a screening near you.

Join the movement: Join us in supporting girls around the world — 4200 girls have already joined the movement, but that’s only .0008% of the world’s girls. Visit codegirl.technovationchallenge.org to learn more. Be sure to tag #Technovation in your posts to help us follow your progress and build momentum.

HOW CAN YOU SEE THE FILM?

Host a Screening: You can bring CodeGirl to your community, school, office and college campus beginning on November 1, 2015. To host a screening, simply email megan@picturemotion.com and she will send you the license, the screening fee (if applicable) and materials you can use to promote your event and lead a post screening conversation.

Watch it Online: From November 1 – 5, on YouTube, CodeGirl will be available for free. The goal of the campaign is to inspire as many students as possible during this special 5 day free viewing period. You can access the film, starting November 1 on https://www.youtube.com/c/codegirlmovie.

See it in Theaters: The film will be opening in select theaters across the country, starting on November 1st. See if it is playing at a theater near you: http://www.codegirlmovie.com/.

Watch it on demand: The film will be available on demand starting November 6th on all the VOD platforms (GooglePlay, itunes, Amazon, Xbox, PlayStation, Vudu, VHX, Vimeo on Demand, Steam).

Visit www.codegirlmovie.com for more information.

Transforming the World, One Mobile App at a Time

Technovation[MN] is a chapter of the global Technovation community and a key program of Code Savvy. 

The goal of Technovation is to close the gender gap in computer science by inspiring and educating girls and young women on entrepreneurship, design and engineering in a fun and supportive environment.  Technovation provides a 12 week program that challenges teams to create mobile applications that solve problems within each team’s community.  The girls learn how to identify problems, validate their ideas through market research, and engineer applications using AppInventor. At the end of the program, regional winners attend the global competition in San Francisco.

If you are passionate about bringing women into the tech industry, please consider volunteering or donating to Technovation[MN]!

Technovation[MN] is looking for schools and teachers to integrate the program, mentors to teach the business/technical development curriculum, and sponsors that can provide financial support for the program. All donations are tax-deductible and would include visibility at events, inclusion in marketing materials, and social media publicity.  Become a part of the movement that empowers young women to be excited about technology, and the impact that their creativity and ingenuity can have on the world.

For the young women in Middle and High School, join a team!  Rally together your friends, find a teacher as your coach, and form your team.

Hurry! The next program begins in January!

Remembering Rebecca Schatz

With deep sadness and a heavy heart, we say goodbye to Rebecca Schatz, founder and executive director of Code Savvy, founder of The Works hands-on museum of engineering and catalyst behind Technovation[MN]. Rebecca passed away in her loving family’s arms on Monday, July 13, 2015.

Rebecca touched so many people during her vibrant, innovative, and inspiring life. She left an inspiring, sustainable, and lasting legacy to encourage kids and teens to explore their curiosity, learn coding and creative problem solving, and for the volunteers, family members, and mentors who make it happen.

Rebecca built systems and organizations and more importantly she engaged others to participate in the process. She knew that change is the work of many and she inspired everyone to stretch, grow and develop themselves. Her outreach was inherently about inclusion – helping kids see new models and pathways to pursue their own passion, dreams and careers in new and accessible ways. Rebecca brought passion and a focused commitment to inspire our youth to explore and discover engineering, science and coding in hands-on environments.

In early July 2015, Code Savvy appointed Jean Weiss the Executive Director of Code Savvy to carry forward Rebecca’s vision to inspire a diverse new code savvy generation.

Rebecca and her family requests that memorials be sent to Code Savvy. We are so thankful for the time Rebecca spent here to inspire change, innovation and inclusion. She will be missed.

Audience Choice Award goes to Furst Class Techies at the World Pitch Competition

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA – June 25, 2015) Technovation[MN] team, Furst Class Techies from Kasson-Mantorville, MN, not only won the Audience Choice Award but also received Honorable Mention in the Middle School Division at the World Pitch Technovation competition in San Francisco.

This competition brings the finalists together from the Global Technovation Challenge, a technology entrepreneurship competition for girls. World Pitch recognized 10 finalist teams from India, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, and the United States.

Andrea Richard, Rylee Melius, and Lydia Mindermann’s app, Mayo FreeTime, was developed to help patients at Mayo Clinic find things to do between appointments, helping them and their families reduce stress, anxiety, boredom, sadness, or loneliness. The team was guided by Coach Sharie Furst, Kasson-Mantorville Middle School STEM teacher and Mentor Kris Kendall, Software Engineer at IBM Rochester. A video of the Kasson-Mantorville girls explaining their app is available on YouTube.

Lydia, Andrea, and Riley had this to say: “Winning the Audience Choice Award was empowering, energizing, and we were really proud. The whole World Pitch experience was awesome!”

Jean Weiss, Executive Board Member of Technovation[MN] was also recognized by Technovation for her outstanding dedication and leadership as a Technovation Regional Ambassador.

Technovation[MN] in only its second year brought together over 90 mentors from the business community, 25 coaches from 22 schools, and over 120 girls on 28 teams. They worked together over 12 weeks to dream up, design, code, promote and pitch a mobile app to solve a community problem. The teams presented and celebrated all of their hard work at Appapalooza, the MN State Pitch event, to over 400 guests, made possible by generous sponsors from the Twin Cities community. The top 3 Middle School teams and the top High School team advanced to the Technovation Challenge semi-final round. The Kasson-Mantorville team was then selected from 63 teams globally to become one of the 10 finalists to attend the Technovation World Pitch event.

Executive Director and Co-founder of Technovation[MN], Shawn Stavesth and Jacqueline Byrd, Board Chair, had this to say about the team’s success: “So incredibly proud of our Kasson- Mantorville team and all of the girls who competed. This is a great step toward changing the gender paradigm in technology.”

About Technovation[MN]
Technovation[MN] inspires the next generation of women technology entrepreneurs by bringing the global Technovation Challenge to Minnesota. We inspire girls in middle school and high school to dream up, design, code and pitch mobile phone apps that help their communities. Technovation[MN] is an initiative of Code Savvy, a non-profit catalyst with programs that inspire a diverse new code-savvy generation.

About Technovation
Technovation is the global technology entrepreneurship program for girls. Participants work with professional mentors to research, design, build, and launch mobile apps that solve real problems in their communities over the course of 3 months. It is free to participates and $20k in awards will be distributed to two winning teams at the end of the 2015 season.

Our Furst Class Techies Team Travels to San Francisco

Our Furst Class Techies Team Travels to San Francisco for Technovation’s 5th Annual International Mobile App Competition for Girls. Finalists will fly in from Nigeria, India, Brazil, Mexico, and the US to compete for $20,000 in prizes.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On June 24th, 43 young women from around the world, including the Technovation[MN] team, Furst Class Techies, from Kasson-Mantorville, MN will travel to San Francisco, CA to compete for $20,000 in seed funding in the 2015 Technovation World Pitch Competition.

Today, only 7% of technology entrepreneurs are women, only 4 in 1,000 female college freshmen want to major in computer science, and 50% of women who are in STEM careers leave the workforce. Technovation is helping change these statistics.

As a part of Technovation, teams of young women, ages 10-18, identify a problem in their community that they would like to solve, develop a mobile app prototype to address that community program, build a business plan on how they will bring their app to market and pitch the app to judges. Almost 50% of college-age alumnae intend to major in Computer Science because of Technovation (compared to the 0.4% of female college freshmen nationally).

Technovation is made possible through the generous support of its year round program sponsors, which include Adobe, Verizon, Intel, Oracle, CA Technologies, and Google. These sponsors make it possible for Technovation to impact thousands of girls across the globe for free.

This year, nearly 400 apps have been narrowed down to ten top finalists from Nigeria, India, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States (represented by teams from Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and California). These ten apps address a range of problems as diverse as childhood obesity, improper waste disposal, sports concussions, drunk driving, and needless water waste.

Furst Class Techie’s app, called Mayo FreeTime was developed to help patients at Mayo Clinic find things to do between appointments. The app gives patients assistance so they can use their time wisely between appointments and helps them reduce stress, anxiety, boredom, sadness, or loneliness. Mayo FreeTIme could be adapted for other communities that have large medical campuses. A video of the K-M girls explaining their app is available on YouTube.

Furst Class along with the top ten teams will travel to San Francisco to amplify their impact at the 2015 Technovation World Pitch Events on June 24th and 25th. The event will include the pitch competition, half-day conference and final Technovation Award Ceremony. The events are sponsored by AVG, CA Technologies, LinkedIn, Rackspace and Yahoo.

On June 24th, the finalist teams will be joined by local Bay Area Technovation participants, coaches, mentors and volunteers at Yelp Headquarters in San Francisco to pitch live in front of a panel of judges from Google, Yahoo, Yelp, and more. “With similar initiatives in supporting women in tech and strengthening local communities across the globe, Yelp is thrilled to welcome these young innovators from Technovation.” said Rachel Williams, Head of Diversity and Inclusion. “We’re excited to see the diverse ideas that develop from this competition.”

The Technovation Award Ceremony will take place on June 25th. A larger audience of technology professionals, Technovation Teams, coaches, mentors, sponsors, and supporters will gather for networking, an App Expo, and the grand finale – an award ceremony to name the top middle school team and the top high school team, who will each receive $10,000 in seed funding to help make their apps a reality. The Award Ceremony program will feature a keynote by Tamara Lundgren, CEO of Schnitzer Steel.
During the day on June 25th, Technovation teams will participate in a half-day conference at the University of San Francisco.

“We are excited to host this year’s Technovation World Pitch Conference,” said Chris Brooks, associate dean for academic operations at the University of San Francisco. “USF has been very active in supporting and encouraging girls and women to explore careers in technology because it is critical that we develop women as leaders and entrepreneurs in the tech field. Technovation is providing important mentoring, support, and networking for these girls who will transform our world in the years to come.”

Workshops will be led by LinkedIn, AVG, Salesforce, Oracle, Akraya, Thoughtworks, Box, and more to help the girls develop the resources and skills to continue building their apps beyond the competition. A special keynote will be provided by Rebecca Parsons, CTO of Thoughtworks.

About Technovation
Technovation is the global technology entrepreneurship program for girls. Participants work with professional mentors to research, design, build, and launch mobile apps that solve real problems in their communities over the course of 3 months. It is free to participate and $20k in awards will be distributed to two winning teams at the end of the 2015 season.

About Technovation[MN]
Technovation[MN] inspires the next generation of women technology entrepreneurs by bringing the global Technovation Challenge to Minnesota. We inspire girls in middle school and high school to dream up, design, code and pitch mobile phone apps that help their communities. Technovation[MN] is an initiative of Code Savvy, a non-profit catalyst with programs that inspire a diverse new code-savvy generation.

Technovation[MN] Middle School Team a Global Finalist

Technovation[MN] is pleased to announce that a team of three girls from Kasson-Mantorville (K-M) Middle School in Rochester, MN became just one of ten internationally that will compete in the annual Technovation Challenge finals in San Francisco on June 24-25.

Watch the video of the K-M girls explaining their app

The team of Rylee Melius, Lydia Mindermann, and Andrea Richard, all seventh-graders, was one of 28 teams that competed on May 3 at the second annual Technovation[MN] “Appapalooza” at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Technovation Challenge inspires and enables teen girls to dream up, design, code and pitch mobile apps. Working with professional mentors, all-girl teams develop a real-world combination of technical and entrepreneurial skills. Technovation[MN] inspires the next generation of women technology entrepreneurs by bringing the global Technovation Challenge to Minnesota.

The K-M team was one of three across Minnesota at the middle school level that qualified as candidates to compete at the international finals in California. Another American middle school team qualified for the finals, along with teams from Mexico and India.

The K-M team is called Furst Class, in honor of its sponsor at the middle school, teacher Sharie Furst. The team is mentored by Kris Kendall, an IBM employee. The team’s app is called “Mayo Freetime,” and its purposes include helping Mayo patients from outside of Rochester find their way around the area between medical appointments Rochester and to chat with others who are in similar situations. The K-M team’s app could be adapted for other communities that have large medical campuses.

Furst Class will join the other 3 middle school, and 6 high school finalists in San Francisco June 24-25 to pitch their app to judges Preeti Somal, VP of Engineering at Yahoo; Tasneem Minadakis, Engineering Manager

Appapalooza Winners!

Appapalooza was a HUGE success! We had 22 middle school teams and 6 high school teams complete the 12-week curriculum and ‘pitch’ their app in front of an audience at Appapalooza on Sunday, May 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The house was full with over 400 supporters. The energy in the room was palpable. There was dancing, singing, cheers and tears of joy! All of the girls totally rocked their pitches and we are so incredibly proud of all of our teams!

Based upon the number of Minnesota entries, we are able to send three middle school teams and one high school team to the global semi-final round.  Our 23 judges followed our global judging rubric to select the following Technovation[MN] Appapalooza winners:

Middle School Regional Champions:
Mayo Freetime built by Furst Class from Kasson-Mantorville, Rochester
Access196 built by Falcon Ridge Middle School Team Apple Valley
School@Home built by the Nerdettes from Central Middle School, Norwood Young America

High School Regional Champion:
AbroadNet built by Technovation[MN]-IT from Trinity High School at River Ridge and Connections Academy

Best Technical App – ShelterMe built by Escape the Cage from Minnetonka High School, Minnetonka
Best Entrepreneurial App – The Babysitters Guide to Success built by Computer Glitz from Dakota Hills Middle School, Eagan

Best Pitch – Hurt Alert built by M-KATS, BDPA, Rochester
Best Pitch – Neighbor Chat built by The Weasties at Minnetonka Middle School East & West, Minnetonka
Best Pitch – Give & Take built by Fab 4 Below, Valley View Middle School, Edina
Best Pitch – Little Helper built by Girls Coding, Bunch of friends

Code Savvy, Best Technical – DogTrax built by Victoria TechTrax from Chaska Middle School East, Chaska
Code Savvy, Best Technical – UNITE built by CRCS Lady Warrior from Cedar Riverside Community School, Minneapolis

World Pitch 2015 will be in June and will feature a total of 10 international finalists. 6 of those finalists will be from the high school division, and the remaining 4 will be from the middle school division. These top 10 teams are flown to Silicon Valley where they pitch their app to VC’s in the hopes of winning $10,000 in seed funding and help commercializing their app on the Google Play Store!

Congratulations to our 2015 Technovation[MN] winners and participants and to all those who helped them get there!

Congratulations to this years teams!

The Technovation[MN] Board extends a hearty congratulations to all our Technovation[MN] teams. Most of you, 6 High School and 22 Middle School teams, completed and submitted your materials on time to Global. It was a fun and tough job to get it all done and you did it!

What does this mean?

We are able to send one high school team and three middle school teams to the semi-final round of the Global Competition.  

WAHOOO!  We are ecstatic and cannot wait for Appapalooza to see the teams present their work and celebrate their success.

For the teams that did not quite make it, we congratulate your efforts and hope you will come to Appapalooza to celebrate your hard work.

A special thank you to all the coaches and mentors who made this happen!

Technovation Challenge World Pitch – June 25

This year Technovation[MN] will be able to send up to 4 teams into the semi-final round of the Technovation Challenge. From there 10 finalists will be chosen to present their apps at the Technovation Challenge World Pitch in San Francisco on June 25! More details on the World Pitch to come.

In the meantime, our state pitch Appapalooza will be held on May 3, at the Minneapolis Convention Center from 2-5pm. Get your ticket and get ready to hear from the entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow.

Prizes needed for Appapalooza! Only 3 weeks to go

3 WEEKS TO GO and we NEED YOUR HELP!

Help us make Appapalooza the most SPECTACULAR event the girls have ever experienced!

For the past 10 weeks, 150 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have been participating in the Technovation Challenge. Working in teams of 5, these girls are dreaming up, designing, coding and pitching mobile phone apps to help their communities. The top teams will fly to Silicon Valley to present their mobile application to venture capitalists for the opportunity to win $10,000 and assistance in commercializing their app.

On May 3rd, these girls will attend Appapalooza at the Minneapolis Convention Center, where they will show off their hard work. Our panel of judges will review their apps, presentations and business plans to choose the top Technovation[MN] winners.

We need PRIZES! This year, EACH and EVERY girl will take home a “Power-UP pack,” filled with goodies and prizes to commemorate their participation in the Technovation Challenge. In addition, a total of 7 teams will come away as winners – 4 of which will be able to advance to the Semi-Finals and one step closer to Silicon Valley –(3 Middle School and 1 high School). The other 3 categories are Best Entrepreneurial Score, Best Technical Score, and Best Presentation Score.

All donated prizes are 100% tax deductable via in-kind donations. Prize Ideas? Contact Annette Evans at: 612-718-8422

Every dollar counts no matter how large or small! Make a 100% tax deductable donation to Technovation[MN].

THANK YOU. YOU make a difference! **Prizes will need to be received by the week of April 27th.

The Technovation Challenge program is designed to attract and encourage the next generation of women technology entrepreneurs. Technovation[MN] is an initiative of Code Savvy, a non-profit catalyst with programs that inspire a diverse new code-savvy generation.

Appapalooza May 3 at Minneapolis Convention Center

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., April 9, 2015 – Minnesotans are invited to celebrate young women in technology by attending the Technovation[MN] Appapalooza event on May 3, 2015 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Ave S. The Appapalooza event features young women participating in the Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship program.

Technovation[MN], which launched the Technovation Challenge in Minnesota in 2013, inspires girls in middle and high school to dream up, design, code and pitch mobile phone apps that help their communities. The Technovation Challenge program is designed to attract and encourage the next generation of women technology entrepreneurs. Technovation[MN] is an initiative of Code Savvy, a non-profit catalyst with programs that inspire a diverse new code-savvy generation.

This year Technovation[MN] exceeded its own expectations with more mentors, schools, teams and students than last year. The number of mentors and coaches grew from 15 in 2014 to 120 mentors and coaches in 2015; from 11 teams with 40 students in 2014 to 40 teams with more than 150 students in 2015; and from five schools in 2014 to 25 schools participating and supporting the Technovation Challenge. The girls have spent nearly 10,000 hours working on new apps to improve our world.

Since February 2015, the teams of girls have imagined, designed and built their mobile apps to compete in the international app building challenge. Teams can choose to build an app for a non-profit or address a teen or womens’ issue.

The Challenge culminates with the May 3 Appapalooza event where participants will “pitch” their apps and unveil their work. Ten teams from the United States and other countries will then be selected to fly to Silicon Valley, CA to present their app ideas to real venture capitalists; the winning team will be awarded $10,000 to help commercialize their app.

“We’re working to close the gender gap in computer science by teaching girls across Minnesota how to code and how be successful entrepreneurs,” explained Shawn Stavseth, Executive Director of Technovation[MN]. “Designing mobile apps is real and tangible for these girls because their cell phones are something they use every day. We want girls to understand the powerful role that technology can play in solving world problems.”

The May 3 Appapalooza is free and open to the public.

Donations are welcome.

Register to attend the event.

Call for Judges

Guest post by Jean Weiss, Technovation[MN] Board Member

Technovation Challenge season has a little over 4 weeks to go. On April 23rd, the teams will be submitting their work to Technovation Global. Technovation[MN] has been selected to be an Official Pitch Event for the Technovation Challenge and with this honor we have the opportunity to judge the teams in Minnesota. The winners of this competition will go on to the semi-final round. The 10 global finalists who will win a trip to Silicon Valley to present their pitch to the final judging panel will be chosen from this elite semi-final group from across the globe.

With our approximately 40 teams (31 Middle School and 9 High School), we will need judges to review the work submitted by the teams against the Official Judging Rubric. Each judge will review materials from up to 10 Technovation[MN] teams between April 24 and May 2 – we estimate this will require about an hour for each team. Final judging will take place at the Appapalooza on Sunday afternoon, May 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, where each team will present their pitch to a live audience.

Judges specializing in entrepreneurship, marketing and technology will be combined into small judging panels, to make sure all the criteria on the Rubric are considered.

Becoming a Technovation[MN] judge is a unique opportunity:
• to network with Minnesota’s app community
• to get recognition as an industry leader and promoter;
• and, most importantly, to contribute to inspiring girls to see that Computer Science can make the world more beautiful, more safe, more innovative, even more healthy, so that they then hopefully will begin to contribute their essential voices.

Please complete the Technovation[MN] Judging Application no later than April 9 if you are interested in being considered for this exciting opportunity to inspire a diverse new code-savvy generation! We encourage you to apply and will get back to you by April 16. Judging panels will be selected to balance area of expertise and gender.

It’s all in the numbers!

Guest post by Jean Weiss, Technovation[MN] Board Member

2015 is a big year for Technovation[MN]! We’ve exceeded even our own ambitious expectations. We have more coaches, mentors, and students than can fit into a minivan (or 40). Our teams stretch far and wide across the Twin Cities, the suburbs and into Rochester. Here are this year’s stats so far (drum roll, please!):

• 90+ mentors from organizations that range from start-ups, to small and mid sized companies, to some of our biggest corporations like Target, Mayo Clinic and IBM
• 25 schools participating with 32 parent and teacher coaches
• 40 teams (31 middle school and 9 high school)
• 150+ excited students who want to learn to be entrepreneurs and technologists
• Almost 10,000 hours of work on new apps to improve our world
• And many parents, grandparents, siblings, school administrators, and corporate sponsors cheering on these fantastic teams

How does that compare to our first Technovation[MN] year? It’s a ginormous explosion of activity! Just one year ago, we had 15 mentors and coaches, 5 schools and 11 teams with about 40 students.

So three cheers for all of the Technovation[MN] participants! Coming in May is our fun and inspiring Appapalooza where you can see the results of all this innovative activity.

Recapping App Day: Trained and Ready to Rock!

Guest post from Melanie Shirley, Technovation[MN] Board Member

We had a thrilling start to 2015 with another App Day! On Sunday, January 11, Technovation[MN] welcomed 28 girls and 21 mentors to the TIES Training Center to learn how to use App Inventor to code mobile apps. Enthusiasm ran high at this weekend’s event and the girls and mentors came ready and willing to learn. A big thanks to our event sponsors Aeris Communications, Code Savvy and the TIES Training Center.

Now the real fun (and the real work) begins. This week marks the beginning of the Technovation Challenge, where our teams of girls will work together to create a mobile app to address an issue in their community. This year, Technovation[MN] has nearly 40 teams from 25 schools guided by over 90 mentors. Mentors and coaches walk the teams through a 12-week curriculum that teaches both technical and entrepreneurial skills. At the end of the Challenge, each team submits 6 deliverables, which include the app source code, screenshots, pitch and demo videos, a business plan and a description.

On April 26, Technovation[MN] will host Appapalooza where our teams get to show off their apps. The top teams trek to Silicon Valley to compete in the global Technovation Challenge. The winners of the global Technovation Challenge win $10,000 in seed funding to help commercialize their app.

Technovation[MN] has more than tripled its participation since it started in 2013. We are thrilled to inspire and engage the next generation of women coders and entrepreneurs through this experiential learning program! Technovation[MN] is a program of Code Savvy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing coding opportunities for kids and teens in Minnesota. Donate to this great cause.

Another Successful App Day

Guest post from Steve Morse, Technovation[MN] Board Member

Thanks to the sponsorship and support of PeopleNet, CoderDojoTC and the TIES Training Center in Falcon Heights, Technovation[MN] was able to have an “App Day” this past Saturday, November 1, 2014.

What an incredibly fun way to spend a Saturday morning! Nineteen young girls and 22 potential mentors, in addition to numerous volunteers, chewed up 3 hours learning to make their own Android app using an easy-to-use and free program called App Inventor. Our goal at Technovation[MN] is to build the confidence of these young girls while inspiring them to potential futures in technology by teaching them about coding. We plan to help groups of young girls develop their own unique apps to showcase in the global Technovation Challenge and win an opportunity to present to real venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and earn $10,000 to commercialize their app.

A lot of parents today are growing up with tech-savvy children that seem to take to technology out of the womb. I love the fact that there’s a group of people out here taking advantage of that by showing young girls that it’s not only cool, but it can be a lot of fun to be able to create with technology. The joy and the pride of learning how to create a simple app, like we did, might just inspire a few next generation female technologists and entrepreneurs. It was nice to see a group of young friends discovering, learning and having fun together.

I remember the time back when I was in third grade and my elementary school got its first computer. We marveled at it. Thankfully, I was one of the math geeks in the school that got to learn about bits and bytes and how to handle floppy disks. I still remember those days with a smile and through Technovation[MN], we plan to make that same thing happen for these young technologists.

It was also clear that the kids probably picked it up and were better than most of us adults. But that’s what is so great; you do not have to be a computer whiz to be a mentor. Anyone interested in mentoring can help. Learning what you need to do is easy, just listen to the kids!!

The next “App Day” is on January 11th. Teams of young girls can learn how to code and be mentored over the next few months and compete with their app at “Appapalooza” this April.

Donate to this fabulous cause.
Become a mentor.
Start a team.

Technovation[MN] is an initiative of Code Savvy, a nonprofit catalyst dedicated to inspiring a diverse new code-savvy generation.

Stephen Morse
Technovation[MN] Board Member

Meet the 2014-2015 Leadership Board

I am extremely excited to announce that we have finalized our 2014-2015 Technovation[MN] Leadership Board. Innovation guru and master networker Jacqueline Byrd is joining us a Board Chair. We also have nine new committee chairs who are committed to our mission of enabling young women to transform the world one mobile app at at a time.

Shawn Stavseth, Executive Director Technovation[MN]

As Board Chair, I’m delighted to announce the new 2015 Board for Technovation[MN]. This Board brings experience and wisdom, but most important—the ability to execute. Every single Board member committed to 2015 Technovation[MN] is ready for the amazing experience of putting together remarkable teams of girls across the region to build amazing apps; apps that have the potential for making a difference not only in communities but in each girl’s life by empowering them to do something they’ve never done before in a safe and stimulating environment. In addition the Board will be focused on finding over 100 Mentors who can support each team, market the organization and its incredible mission, raise dollars needed to ‘make it happen’ and plan and execute an event—The Appapalooza– that achieves results for each individual girl, their team and the community in which they live. This Board is invested in the success of Technovation[MN]!

Join us—be a Mentor, a Volunteer!

Thank you,
Jacqueline Byrd, Ph.D., Board Chair Technovation [MN]

Technovation[MN] at the Minnesota State Fair with WCCO Radio

Hot summer sun, fried food of every kind, and yes, techie girls! We were at the Minnesota State Fair yesterday talking Technovation[MN] with Roshini Rajkumar of WCCO-Radio.

Listen to the interview.

Huge shout out to Roshini for helping us promote and grow Technovation[MN].