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.

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!
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.


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