Author: Technovation MN

Being an Appapalooza judge: No CS experience required

Guest post by Angie Kalthoff, a Technology Integrationist in for the St. Cloud Area School District 742. She consults with organizations that want to understand the why, what and how behind Computer Science in the K-12 setting, with a focus on elementary education.

I am excited to see how girls, right here in Minnesota, will change the world.

I volunteered to be a to judge at Technovation 2017 because I am passionate about making a difference. I look forward to seeing the creative projects girls create to help solve real-world issues. This is how I show them my support and you can too!

I believe we need to empower our students at a young age through educational activities with real-world application. “Technovation offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders.” I am driven to helping girls and underrepresented populations gain access to Computer Science (CS) education.

My background as an English Language teacher, not one that you would think of for a judge in a CS competition. But you do not have to have a background in CS to help! I learned about Technovation through an educational program three years ago. Over the past few years, I have been learning why CS education at an early age is vital, what it looks like, and how to implement.

Since the beginning of Technovation eight years ago, 15,000 girls have participated in the competition worldwide and developed mobile apps and startups that solved problems. The fields impacted include a diverse range including food waste, nutrition, women’s safety and much more. Someday, I hope to coach a team in Central Minnesota. Until that day, I will do my part as a judge. You can be involved too. Here are a few options:

Do you know someone who would be interested in helping? Share this post with them!

The Beginning of a Journey in Technology: SKeMAS at 2017 MN Cup

Guest post from Keerthi Manikonda, 2017 Technovation[MN] participant

The MN Cup experience is something that I am truly grateful for. It has been something that has taught me various life skills and has brought me closer to my teammates. It taught me to learn how to be a strong and reliable leader and it also taught me how to find support within my team [the SKeMAS].

One of the main reasons why I’m glad to have participated is because I wanted to inspire girls out there to take a problem in their communities and use technology and entrepreneurial skills to solve it or make the problem less prevalent. I want to look back fifty years from now and be proud that I did something or made something that others benefitted from. I know there are a lot of programs out there that teens can take advantage of to solve problems in their community. And I hope teens do take advantage of those programs. MN Cup and Technovation are the programs that have given me a great deal of opportunities. A word of advice I have to other teens in start there. Start with MN Cup or Technovation. Get good contacts. Meet new people. Use all the resources you’ve got to become successful. It will help you in the long run.

My journey has had its highs and its lows, and I am appreciative of experiencing it all. I knew I could always rely on my team members and my team members knew that they could rely on me. That is why when we had a pitch for the MN Cup for the minority division on a school day, and my other teammates could not go, I went and delivered the pitch on my own so that my team could have a chance at winning. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to represent Via at the pitch, as well as to participate in the MN Cup. Hopefully, in the near future, my team and I will push forward and make Via very successful. We have done a great deal so far, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of my journey will take me!

Be a part of something great and join us in 2018. Discover the many ways you can be part of Technovation[MN] and get involved!

Do Big Things: SKeMAS at 2017 MN Cup

Guest post from Sophia Fulton, 2017 Technovation[MN] participant

Do big things.
Do epic things.
Do things people don’t think you can do.
Do things that you don’t think you can do.
We’re rooting for you.

That’s what I felt as my team participated in Technovation, and most recently, MN Cup: the largest startup competition in Minnesota. My team, lovingly referred to as SKeMAS (a combination of our first names: Sophia, Keerthi, Maurine, Anushri, and Stela), created a safe driving app called Via. We were a first runner-up to compete in Technovation’s global finals and were named finalists in the MN Cup.

As we competed through MN Cup, every single mentor and judge I spoke to was incredibly encouraging and willing to help. In fact, at a pitch event, my mom mentioned the challenge of me being in school in Texas and having to fly back for the competition. One of the mentors mentioned they would try to help in any way, even if they had to help fund a trip back. That wasn’t needed, but the image was clear: the judges and mentors were rooting for us.

Even among our MN Cup competitors, there was a feeling that we were all cheering for each other. After all, we are all young entrepreneurs doing amazing things: can’t we create more good in our world by working together, instead of against each other? I had the opportunity to speak with and hear the stories of Green Garden Bakery, who placed first in the youth category in MN Cup, and Crimson Cafe, a fellow competitor. It astounds me that there are so many young people who desire to create a better future through entrepreneurship, and I’m so glad MN Cup gave us this opportunity to meet each other not only as competitors but as fellow visionaries in entrepreneurship.

After the competition, even though we didn’t win first place, we had numerous mentors and judges come up to our team and tell us they were there for us. We had judges, incredibly talented and experienced entrepreneurs, offer their mentorship and help if we needed it. We had people suggesting resources and future events to participate in to make Via successful. That was the best part of MN Cup: discovering that there was an incredible community ready to help young entrepreneurs like us succeed.

There were points in this journey with Via that we weren’t sure if we could do it. Creating Via and competing against incredibly strong competition, we didn’t know if we’d make it past the first round, let alone into finals. But we did. We did the epic things. We did the big things. We did it: not because of our own talent, but because of the people around us. We did it because of our mentors, our families, our friends, and even our competitors, who told us we could do it, and who told us they were there supporting us.

Through this experience creating Via, I’ve realized that this captures the beauty of Technovation. Technovation empowers girls to do big, epic things, and gives them the mentors and resources to make it possible. Technovation tells girls that they can do amazing things, and we hope our journey with Via inspires you to do the same:

You can do big things.
You can do epic things.
You can do things no one thought you could, maybe you even thought you couldn’t.
We did it, and we’re rooting for you.

Be a part of something great and join us in 2018. Discover the many ways you can be part of Technovation[MN] and get involved!

Give to the Max Day is coming!

Give to the Max Day 2017 is coming up! Be a part of getting more girls like Tien involved in STEM!  To keep our program completely cost-free for girls like Tien, we rely on your support!

Donate to Technovation[MN] this Give to the Max Day!

“Through Technovation and Aspirations I met role models already in technology and made concrete what I wanted to work toward after high school. Everyone I met along this journey showed me how to be unapologetic, showed me what it means to be unapologetically female, be unapologetically intelligent, be unapologetically assertive, be an unapologetic leader. And now, I want to major in Biomedical Engineering, and work toward helping girls bridge the gender gap, particularly in STEM.”

-Tien VoNguyen, Technovation[MN] participant

Donate to Technovation[MN] this Give to the Max Day!

2018 Registration is Open

2018 mentor and team registration is now open! We are so looking forward to a fantastic season! Expect more teams, more fun, and an even bigger Appapalooza, scheduled for Saturday, May 12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Register your Technovation[MN] team so that we can give you all the support you need throughout the season.

VIA team reaches finals of MN Cup

Originally posted by the Rochester Post Bulletin

A group of Rochester girls are finalists in a Minnesota business competition, thanks to an app they created that discourages texting and driving.

The team of five from Rochester Public Schools are finalists in two categories of the 2017 Minnesota Cup, a competition for the best new business idea. The girls created the app, which prevents teens from texting and driving, through a separate competition, after they were alarmed to find that 11 teens die daily while texting and driving.

The team’s app, called VIA, prevents texting by reminding drivers to mute their phone notifications while in a vehicle. When put in driving mode, the app sends an automatic text to the user’s contact when she begins and finishes driving.

The statewide Minnesota Cup, an entrepreneurial competition, announced the team as one of 24 chosen in the third round of the challenge, from an initial pool of 520. The girls are finalists in the Youth Division of the competition, which puts them in the running for up to $10,000.

The competition kicked off this spring with business ideas submitted in eight divisions: Energy/Clean Tech/Water, Food/Agriculture/Beverage, General, High Tech, Life Science/Health IT, Impact Ventures, Student (for enrolled graduate school or undergraduate students ages 19-30) and Youth (age 18 and younger).

They’re among the 37 percent of teams led by women, and 29 percent led by minorities in the competition, according to Minnesota Cup.

“Minnesota Cup is dedicated to expanding the field of entrepreneurs in our state, and we’re working to unleash the economic power of underrepresented groups while building a strong culture of innovation,” said Minnesota Cup executive director Melissa Kjolsing Lynch.

As semifinalists, they spent the the summer meeting with mentors to perfect their business plan and learned how to pitch it to a larger audience.

The app was originally create for Technovation, a 12-week program that pairs professional mentors with all-girl teams to help them design and code mobile phone apps. In that competition, the girls were a runner up to the finalist at the international Technovation Challenge in the competition’s health category — a designation that came with $5,000 in scholarship money.

“It’s always exciting when girls find outlets for their Technovation apps in other competitions and arenas,” said Rich Bogovich, a program organizer with Technovation. “Success in other venues not only validates their Technovation achievement but helps to reinforce the appeal of coding as a career for young women.”

It’s not the first time a Technovation team from the region has had success in another competition, Bogovich said. Byron’s team won the 2016 Rochester Youth Startup Weekend competition and a Kasson-Mantorville team took that app to the White House Science Fair.

The final winner and recipients of prizes for the Minnesota Cup will be announced on Oct. 9 at the Carlson School of Management.

Most important, Be the Next YOU

Guest post by Keerthi Manikonda, a Technovation[MN] participant and Appapalooza Guest Speaker

Approximately three and a half years ago, one of my instructors from a program called BDPA approached me and a couple other girls, and told us about this cool new program that encourages girls to try mobile app development. I went home that day and I told my father about it, who told me to join. Upon hearing my disapproval of his decision, he proceeded to strike a deal with me. I think it was early October when this happened, and I had been pestering my dad about letting me have a Halloween party for quite some time. He told me if I joined Technovation, he would let me have my Halloween party.

I may have joined Technovation for a small Halloween party, but it gave me so much more. It taught me to be a capable leader, a confident speaker, and a better coder.

Technovation challenges young girls to not only make a difference in their community, but it also challenges them to expand their horizons. Being a team player as well as a leader is crucial in being an effective communicator and learner. It teaches you to be an open listener as well as an effective contributor. I was not the same speaker I was three years ago. Being able to stand in front of a room with people and give a pitch was not something I was comfortable with. But over time and practice, I was able to present and vocalize in a way that projected a confident and intelligent personality. Every girl deserves to feel confident and intelligent. That confidence helped me the most during interviews for internships and other things. Towards the end of my first internship, I was introduced to Mike Rolih, who gave me my next internship. I remember him asking me what my superpower is. I thought for a while, and the first thing that came into my mind was ‘my words’. My words, my voice, that is what got me here. One of the main reasons why I am up here today, is because my words can make a difference. Just as your words and your voices can! That is something that this program taught me. And that is also something that I will use for the rest of my life. Your words, your voice is what is going to solve problems in our world. Without Technovation, I truly could not have gotten these internships. I could not have gotten this amazing opportunity to speak to all of you here today. Another interesting thing that I found, was that mobile app development helped me get a mentorship at Mayo Clinic. More particularly, it helped me get a mentorship in a research lab where I would not be working on anything that was technology related. The mentorship was in the Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The reason I got the mentorship, was because during the interview, I told my mentor that I participated in a program called Technovation. After telling her that the apps were indeed on the app store for Android, she promptly took out her phone and proceeded to look the apps up. She was impressed that both of the apps that I created were health related, and saw that I was willing to use my skills in technology to solve problems in medicine. I proceeded to tell her that I wanted to go into medicine and use my coding skills to create a program or app that will allow physicians to perform their jobs better. She was thoroughly impressed and I was offered the mentorship.

My message to all the young girls here: you don’t have to commit to a technology related career. By participating in a program that encourages mobile app development, you are not tied down to that field. You can use the skills gained from this program to help better other fields, may that be the health sciences, the environment, or something else. By doing that you are going to make a bigger impact. Expand your horizons. Be the person that people talk about for generations. Be the one that other young girls aspire to be.

You don’t have to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg. Be the next you!

And that’s all that matters.

Two MN Teams are Runners Up in Global Competition

We are extremely excited and proud to announce that TWO (2) Technovation[MN] teams are Runners Up in the Global Technovation Challenge.  Each team will receive a scholarship to continue their work and/or studies in business, technology or computer science. See the 2017 Award Structure.

VIA by BDPA SKeMAS – Senior Division
Via is a safe driving app that increases peace in parents and teens by creating safer roads and healthier lives.
Pitch Video | Demo Video

The Power of You by The 4 Musketeers – Junior Division
Power of You allows you to research worldwide issues such as poverty, health, equality, and environment to learn why it’s a problem, how you can take a stand, and what’s happening currently.
Pitch Video | Demo Video

Congratulations to BDPA SKeMas and The 4 Musketeers!  And congratulations to everyone who participated in Technovation this year.  You are part of the Technovation community and we know you will continue to do great things.  We hope that you will encourage other girls to join the program…and, of course, that you participate again next year.  You have deeply impressed us and inspired us this season, and we know that you’re going to keep up your amazing work.

Full list of 2017 Technovation Challenge finalists

Three teams advance to the MN Cup Semi-Finals

MN Cup announced today it has advanced 3 Technovation[MN] teams to the semifinals of the 2017 competition.

Eye on Walleye
Technovation Junior semi-finalist team and the Top Scoring Technovation[MN] team
Eye on Walleye was developed to provide a more accurate and real-time track of the fishing population
Pitch Video | Demo Video

Via
Technovation Senior semi-finalist team
Via is a safe driving app that increases peace in parents and teens by creating safer roads and healthier lives.
Pitch Video | Demo Video

Pocket Pollinator
Technovation Senior Division team
As the bee population plummets around the world, Pocket Pollinator alerts the general public on this crisis and utilizes the masses in order to obtain information that can aid organizations such as Pollinate Minnesota and the Minnesota DNR in adjusting their education and advocacy work for pollinators as it pertains to the crisis trend in Minnesota
Pitch Video | Demo Video

Congratulations Technovation[MN] teams and thank you MN Cup for your support and partnership! It is  very exciting to see your latest numbers of minority and women-led teams.  Out of the 520 teams in the 2017 competition, 29 percent are led by minorities, and 37 percent are led by women. Participation is also record breaking for their youngest business-builders, with a new high — 12 percent of the teams are led by students. Check out the full list of Semi-Finalists.

Biggest Appapalooza Ever!

An inspiring group of dreamers, designers and doers gathered yesterday at the Minneapolis Convention Center as over 60 teams of high school and middle school girls came together in celebration of their hard work with Technovation[MN]. Teams of young women pitched mobile apps they have been building over the past 3 months to business professionals. Each app aims to solve a problem in the community that aligns with one of six UN Sustainable Development Goals: poverty, the environment, peace, equality, education or health.

Teams were judged on the demonstration of their idea, technical functionality of the app, the pitch presentation and overall business plan. Each team presented and celebrated their hard work not only to judges, but to over 900 guests!

“I didn’t know anything about programming coming into this, and going from knowing nothing to building a huge app was an incredible experience.” -Appapalooza participant, Annie Chen

Ann Ulrich, Founder of Do1boldthing.com, was the Grand Emcee and music was provided by Be-Lo, a DJ company launched by girls at Appapalooza.  Several organizations, including PeopleNet, MultiTech, Amazon, U.S. Bank, A.W.E, were present to entertain the girls while scores were finalized. Stratasys created 3D printed jewelry, designed by Tien VoNguyen, for the event and the girls flocked to SciGirls to create locker decorations. And, of course, there was a photo booth from The Traveling Photo Booth so girls could capture the moment.

Keynote speakers included Keerthi Manikonda, a Junior at John Marshall High School in Rochester, who has earned internships as a Coder at TechStars and in Marketing at GoRout, a wearable sports tech company and Tien VoNguyen, a Senior at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis.  Tien is Student Ambassador for the Global Technovation Challenge and serves on the Technovation[MN] Board of Directors.  She recently received an Aspirations in Computing Award and plans to attend Loyola University to pursue her education in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science.  Key sponsors also joined Ann on stage to share why they and their organization supports Technovation[MN].  They each brought an icon that represented their ‘why’.  Stephanie Hamme-Betti from U.S. Bank brought a rocket, Ari Silkey from Amazon brought a globe, Bryant Noice from Target wore a hard hat, Sara Brown from MultiTech wore sunglasses and Mona Phaff from PeopleNet brought a picture of Rosie the Riveter.  

Technovation[MN] announced 7 middle school and 2 high school winners who will advance to the global semi-finals for the chance to receive $5,000-$15,000 to take their app to market.  In addition, the G.I.R.L.S. can H.A.C.K. team from Maple Grove Middle School, who built the Eye on the Walleye app, will advance to the second round of the MN Cup Youth Division.

Finally David Amor, CEO of Medgineering, sponsored the Pitch the Sharks competition where three health-related app teams had an opportunity to ‘pitch’ to his panel of judges for the chance to win $1,000. The winner of the $1000 pitch was MDH Eat Safe! developed by Hillcrest Tech Girls 2.0 from Hillcrest Community Schools.  This app allows individuals to submit information about their foodborne illnesses. 

What’s next?  World Pitch 2017 will take place August 7-11 in Silicon Valley. Students from around the world will come together for a summit of workshops, technology company visits and a live pitch competition. Each bright young woman will be celebrated for their accomplishments toward solving global issues.

Congratulations to all of our amazing participants and thank you to all of our mentors, judges, volunteers, sponsors and supporters!

And our 2017 winners are…..

Congratulations to our 9 teams that are advancing to semi-finals for the chance to go to the global competition in San Francisco! Check out their pitch videos here:

G.I.R.L.S. can H.A.K. from Maple Grove Middle School

The Tech-Tastics from St. John the Evangelist

The 4 Musketeers from Chaska Middle School East

Her-ricanes from Chatfield Public Schools

Blazing Arrows from Lighthouse Schools

Hillcrest Tech Girlz 2.0 from Hillcrest Community School

JA Technovation from John Adams Middle School

Spice Angels from Como Park Senior High School

SKeMAS from BDPA

PITCH THE SHARKS WINNER

Hillcrest Tech Girlz 2.0 from Hillcrest Community School with MDH Eat Safe!

The Hillcrest Tech Girls 2.0 walked away with $1000. Thank you David Amor for your generous donation.

 

MN CUP WINNER

G.I.R.L.S. can H.A.K. from Maple Grove Middle School with Eye on the Walleye!

G.I.R.L.S. can H.A.K. will advance to the second round of the MN Cup.  WAHOOOOOOOOO. Thank you to Melissa Kjolsing and the entire MN Cup team for providing this fabulous opportunity.

Calling Volunteers for Appapalooza

Guest post from Leib Yardley, Appapalooza Volunteer Coordinator

Appapalooza 2017 will take place on Sunday, May 7th from 2-5pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center. We will need many volunteers to pull off this year’s event as we are expecting over 290 participants and 750 attendees! If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up using the instructions below:

We’re using Signup.com (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 Signup.com.

2. Enter your email address. (You will NOT need to register an account on Signup.com)

3. Sign up! Choose your spots – Signup.com will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

Note: Signup.com 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 30th, 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!

Judges Needed for Appapalooza! – A Unique Opportunity

APPLY HERE TO BE AN APPAPALOOZA JUDGE.

Technovation Challenge 2017 is nearing completion! The 54 middle school and 12 high school teams are busy polishing their mobile apps, creating demo videos, and for the high school teams, completing their business plans for submission by April 26. All of this learning and hard work will culminate in live pitches in front of panels of judges at Appapalooza on Sunday, May 7 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.   The top eight Minnesota teams will advance to the semi-finals where 12 teams from around the world will win the opportunity to present at Technovation Global Pitch Summit later this summer in San Francisco.

We are looking for business and technology professionals to be judges for Technovation Challenge 2017. Judges will score submissions and provide constructive feedback for up to six teams using an official judging rubric. Each judge will also participate in a panel at Appapalooza to score the live pitches by their assigned teams.

The time commitment is approximately ten hours during the week of May 1, six hours to score the submissions (May 1-5 at your convenience) and another four hours to participate in a judging panel at Appapalooza (May 7, 1-5pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center). Attendance at Appapalooza is mandatory to be a judge as this completes the feedback experience for the teams.

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

  • Network with community entrepreneurs and business leaders,
  • Be seen as an industry leader and promoter, and
  • Most importantly, inspire girls to contribute their essential voices to help make the world a better place through technology and entrepreneurship.

Please complete the application below no later than April 10, 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 17. All judges will be required to sign an NDA which will be sent to you on April 17. Judging panels will be selected to balance area of expertise and gender.

APPLY HERE TO BE AN APPAPALOOZA JUDGE.

 

2017 By the Numbers

Guest post by Jean Weiss, Code Savvy, Executive Director, and Technovation Regional Ambassador

Another record breaking year for Technovation[MN] is in the making. In this, our fourth year, we again we have more mentors, more students, and more teams than ever before. We have teams across the Twin Cities, both urban and suburban and teams in SE MN from Rochester to Pine Island, to Chatfield, to Stewartville, to Dodge Center. The stats….

  • 143 mentors (93 from the Twin Cities area and 50 from SE MN) from organizations as large as IBM, Mayo, Amazon, Thomson Reuters, Delta, U. S. Bank, and General Mills and smaller organizations such as Mentormate, PeopleNet, Prime Digital Academy, Exosite, and many more. What an awesome group of mentors and mentor companies!
  • 290 motivated and enthusiastic girls from 32 schools rockin’ the curriculum. Can’t wait for Appapalooza to see the innovation they created!
  • 66 teams – 54 Junior Division (Middle School) and 12 Senior Division (High School)
  • Many parents, grandparents, siblings, and school faculty and administrators cheering on these fantastic teams
  • And this year’s sponsors so far – four Petabyte level sponsors($10,000); Amazon, PeopleNet, U. S. Bank, and Target, two Terabyte level sponsors ($7,500); 3Five and Mentormate, and one Gigabyte level sponsor ($5,000); MultiTech  supporting this free tech-entrepreneurship program for girls in MN.

How does this compare to the 2016 Technovation[MN] year – LARGEST EVER! Just one year ago, we had 107 mentors, 200 students at 26 schools, and 50 teams (40 MS and 10 HS).

So hooray for all of the Technovation[MN] participants! Coming May 7 is our lively and inspiring Appapalooza where you can experience the results of innovation in action!.

 

Inspiring as a state of mind!

Guest post by Karen Winkler, Technovation[MN] Board Chair, Mentors and Technology

I love math and I wanted my daughters to love math, so when they were in grade school I made sure they saw me in action as a ‘math-lete’ and enjoying the ‘game’. I’m also kind of a health nut, and I wanted my daughters to understand the importance of a healthy diet and exercise routine so I made fun, healthy meals, and they saw me going to the YMCA and train/participate in races.

When I was ready to change careers 20 years ago, I chose technology and never looked back. The jobs were plentiful, the pay was good and the work was and still is interesting and challenging. It makes sense then that when it was time for my daughters to begin considering future career choices, I find a way to help them see the possibilities in STEM, so I volunteered with Technovation[MN], first as a school mentor and then also as a board member. I was hoping to teach and inspire young women to consider their future as technology innovators. Little did I know that in return my own daughter would find a passion for innovation and the beautiful logic of coding, or that I would be inspired by young women on their journey to adulthood.

Tien VoNguyen inspired me last weekend when, during a Technovation hackathon at De LaSalle high school, I found out that she won an Honorable Mention for Aspirations in Computer Awards from NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology). Tien excelled during her first season in Technovation building her first mobile app that helped students make healthy snack choices. Since that first year, Tien has been asked to be a student ambassador for Technovation Global, joined the board of Technovation[MN] and decided to pursue a career in technology; all before graduating from high school!

Feel like being inspired today? Watch the interview with Tien (thank you to the folks at MentorMate!) and if you would like to get involved with Technovation[MN] and be inspired by these amazing young women as they demonstrate their mobile apps, sign up to volunteer for our Appapalooza celebration here.

MultiTech and Technovation[MN] team up to create an Impact for MN Girls in STEM

Guest post by Annette Evans, Technovation[MN] Board Chair – Fundraising

Technovation[MN] is thrilled to be working in partnership with MultiTech – A woman owned IoT technology company committed to helping our efforts to break barriers and propel girls in STEM.

MultiTech will make a donation for EACH and EVERY badge they scan at their booth to support our mission to “Enable young women to transform the world one mobile app at a time.”

The events begin TODAY – January 31st at DistribuTech

The events supported are:

  • DistribuTEch, 31st – Feb. 2nd  San Diego, CA Booth #3552
  • IoT Evolution 7th – Feb 9th  Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • MD&M West 7th – Feb 9th  Anaheim, CA  Booth #1707
  • HIMMS 19th– Feb.23rd   Orlando, FL  Booth #7748

 

The commitment MultiTech has to technology is evident by their pedigree and 80+ patents, but what may not be known is their profound commitment to supporting women in technology and leadership.   Owner and Chairman of the Board, Patricia Sharma helps lead the company in which 1/3 of the executive leadership team and over 40% of the entire company is women. Click here to learn more about MultiTech.

If you are in the IoT industry or plan to attend any of the events listed above, please stop by the MultiTech booth.

Not to worry – you don’t have to travel to a trade show to support our program. Just simply click on the following link to make a donation.

Thank you MultiTech and Sara Brown for your support – together we are making an IMPACT!

Girls put creativity, energy into solving community problems

A group of nearly 100 middle and high school girls gathered at Lourdes High School on Wednesday. Armed with curiosity and energy, they were tasked with coming up with solutions to some of Rochester’s most pressing problems.

No issue was too big to broach. On the table were topics that confound the region’s leaders each day, including homelessness, language barriers and Destination Medical Center.

Also in the room were 11 community leaders — entrepreneurs, IT professionals, designers, nonprofit coordinators and a city councilwoman — all providing some expertise and detailing to students the biggest challenges facing their field.

READ MORE

Defining your app’s target audience and why it matters

Guest Post by Eve Poeschl, Technovation[MN] Board Member

There’s more to developing an app than choosing features and writing code that will bring the idea to life. There’s an important decision to make first. Who’s your target audience? Defining this group is critical to the success of any app.

Impact of your target audience

The target audience for an app is the core set of users, the group of people who need the app and will reap the largest reward. Defining a target audience tells you more than simply who will likely be the primary demographic. It also informs how your app is built and what features will be included. The target audience could be segmented by age, gender or motivation.

The process to define an app’s target audience begins by gaining an in-depth understanding of the core group’s motivations.

Ask yourself, “What problem will the app solve?” and “What will the user accomplish by using the app?”

Identifying user flow and features

Once you’ve determined your target audience, the user flow can be sketched — starting with how users will interact with your app when they first log-in. If your target audience values privacy, they may create a username that leads them to a landing page. Or maybe your target audience is busy, or less trustful, they can interact with app functionality right away. This can capture their attention.

Target audience definition gives you more insight than solely who the primary user is. It also informs how features are developed.
For example, studies have shown millennials aren’t using Google+ and Twitter, with the same frequency as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. A sharing mechanism that targeted Google+ and Twitter wouldn’t be useful for this audience. Instead, the app’s sharing should integrate with the audience’s platforms of choice.

Leveraging familiar usability patterns

Having a clear understanding of your audience allows you to replicate the usability patterns they are familiar with. That way, your app will be easier to adopt and users will be less intimidated by the newness of the technology.

Maximizing marketing spend

There’s a working development theory that a large percentage of your build budget should be spent on the actual app development and the remaining should be allocated to marketing your app. Following that line of thought, the size of your target audience impacts your marketing budget. If your audience is large, your marketing spend will be much higher. The benefit is clear: When you narrow down that audience, it helps the budget for your market spend.

Answer these three questions to begin thinking about your target audience.

1. Who is the user and how is the app going to better their lives?

The apps available to users increase by the day. Knowing who your users are will enable you to call out features that make their unique situations better.

2. As a user, why do I trust this technology?

We live in a world where the lifespan of many apps are fleeting. By knowing your user, you can ensure it benefits them now and into the future.

3. How do I leverage this target audience to increase adoption for my app?

Our ultimate goal is to release an app that will help improve the lives of your target audience. How do you incentivize this group of users to spread the word? As an example, if your app charges a membership fee like Betterment, you provide an incentive to waive these fees via invitations. This is a meaningful incentive for their target demographic.

Be the change you wish to see in the world

Guest post written by Karen Winkler, Technovation[MN] Mentor Board Chair

‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’-Mahatma Gandhi

This has got to be one of the most referenced quotes, especially when referring to personal behavior. Want more people to be nice; start acting nicer. Want your kids to eat more vegetables; start eating salads at dinner with your family. If you want to see more women entering careers in Technology; ………..????

If you have ever wondered how you could help the progress of women in STEM careers, I would like you to consider volunteering with this unique non-profit group: TechnovationMN.

I was introduced to TechnovationMN a few years ago, when the company I work for held a meet-and-greet for TechnovationMN and they brought along one of their student coding teams. This was my first introduction to this group of women and the young entrepreneurs they mentor. Technovation Challenge is a global organization that ‘invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology.’

Technovation offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the skills they need to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Every year they invite girls to identify a problem in their community, and then challenge them to solve it. Girls work in teams to build both a mobile app and a business plan to launch that app, supported by mentors and guided by their curriculum.

I chose to support this organization as a board member and a student mentor. As we grow and prepare for the next Technovation season, I would like to encourage you to investigate Technovation as a volunteer opportunity this year.

While there are different volunteer positions available, the greatest need at Technovation[MN] is for volunteer mentors. Mentors act as role models, sounding boards, and help with time management to encourage teams as they are guided through the curriculum. The time commitment is about 2+ hours per week for 12 weeks from January through April or about 25-50 hours total. .

To apply for a mentor position follow this link .  Click either the ‘mentor signup for 2017’ link in the middle of the page or the green button in the upper right area; both will take you to the Technovation Challenge Mentor Signup page.

Engineers are the second largest STEM occupational group, but only 1 in 7 engineers is female. — US Department of Commerce