Local Girls Win National Technology Competition

Posted: 30/04/2015

A team of Jersey schoolgirls has won the UK regional competition of the Technovation Challenge, a global tech competition for girls and young women, a...

A team of Jersey schoolgirls has won the UK regional competition of the Technovation Challenge, a global tech competition for girls and young women, and will now represent the UK at the semi-finals up against Asia and Australia regions.

The Technovation Challenge is a global technology entrepreneurship program and competition for young women. Through an intensive 3-month, 50-hour curriculum, teams of young women worked together to imagine, design, and develop mobile apps, then pitch their “startup” businesses to judges.

Four Jersey teams participated in the UK regional pitch, competing against 6 teams from the mainland. The Jersey teams each pitched an app they built to solve a specific social problem, via Skype to the Google Campus in London.

The winning team, Team Hydra, created an app called GiftAway, a recycling app that lets the user give away unwanted items to those who need them. Using GPS, GiftAway enables users to list and search for items in their local area. If the item has no taker, the app will also let the user know the nearest recycling point.

Team Hydra’s members are Gabriella Magalhaes (14), Nerea Sáenz-Arana (14), Candela Sáenz-Arana (15) who attend Jersey College for Girls and Laura Wilding (14) who attends Beaulieu. They are all members of Jersey Coders, the local teenage coding club, who partnered with Digital Jersey to support the challenge here in Jersey. The Technovation Challenge is one of the 4 school programmes that form a crucial part of Digital Jersey’s skills availability and development work stream, ensuring skills meet current and future needs of local businesses and community.

The Technovation Challenge was hosted within Jersey Coders at the Digital Jersey hub, and supported by mentors from the local industry who volunteered their time to assist the girls throughout the challenge.

Team Hydra’s Mentor Gwyn Garfield-Bennett commented:

"The girls wanted to create an app that not only helps the environment, but also those who are less well off in our society. They have worked really hard to put together the business plan, pitch videos and the app, and are absolutely ecstatic to now be representing the UK in the Technovation Challenge. They're hoping to get the app finished and launched in the next few weeks so everyone can start to use it. We also have to thank Jersey Coders' mentor Rob Dudley for his vital technical help to all four teams.”

Melissa Chester, KPMG and Regional Technovation Ambassador commented:

“I am delighted that our first season of Technovation has been such a huge success and I am thankful for all the support the community has given to the programme.  There are too few women in the technology industry, and Technovation is designed to improve the talent pipeline by providing a curriculum that engages females and develops their technology and entrepreneurial skills. The careers landscape is rapidly changing and there will be few jobs in the future that will not be touched by technology.  Those students who embrace technology and build their competence in this area will have a broader range of opportunities open to them in the future.  Although the competition element of Technovation is only open to females, the curriculum is free to access and would complement any IT curriculum in schools. I wish team Hydra the best of luck in the semi-finals!"

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