It's been a quick 16 weeks for our Technovation teams, as the girls showcased their finalized apps, business plans, and marketing schemes this past weekend at Simon Fraser University. It is with a heavy heart that we come to the conclusion of the Technovation challenge, with our mentors showing doleful signs of loss for their weekly check-in meetings. Though the development phase is now complete, we look forward to the official competition results released at the end of May.
The SFU Technovation pitch event was held on Saturday, April 23 as a culminating celebration for teams in the Lower Mainland. Though the results of this pitch do not affect the official scores of the international competition, each team was assessed for code, relativity to community issues, and marketing plans. Mentors and parents were in attendance, cheering on teams from both the middle and high school divisions. That’s right, girls from age 10 and over were writing code to help their communities - inspiring stuff.
Appnovation’s mentors looked on proudly as Team United Utopians took first prize in the high school division, with Team Fresh following in second. Team United Utopians’ app, Hello, was designed to assist Syrian refugees in Vancouver with tools such as learning common English phrases, a currency converter, and locating popular services. Team Fresh’s app, My Cosmos, was created for youth looking to improve their mental health by dealing with common emotions, including stress, depression, and romance.
Wendy Leung and members of Team United Utopians and Team Fresh after winning their prizes.
Of all the aspects of a program like this, our mentors were most impressed with their teams’ abilities and creativity. The members of both teams were resourceful in conducting research and competitive analyses, impressive coders, and innovative in determining gaps in the current app market.
“It’s really cool to talk to people on the start of their tech journey, seeing it from their perspective," says mentor Wendy Leung. "I remember the mindset of being new and not necessarily having the answers to everything. It’s great to help guide [the teams] through this process.”
Wendy and Rose firmly believe Hello has the potential to showcase at the international pitch since it fulfills an urgent, global need. This app is a simple concept that serves a very useful purpose of providing the capacity for users to get around, know a community, and create a new home. As Rose mentions, Hello is a tech best friend for any Syrian newcomer to Vancouver.
Rena and Bao reflect on their time with Team Fresh and My Cosmos as an impressive experience, seeing young women coming up with a relevant socially-conscious app to help their peers. Bao, one of Appnovation’s developers, was rather impressed by the ability of her team’s coders in grades 10 and 12. All in all, Rena and Bao saw this as both a learning experience for Team Fresh, but also for themselves as mentors.
Appnovation wishes both Team United Utopians and Team Fresh, as well as other teams from the Lower Mainland, the best of luck during the current judging round. Results of the Technovation challenge will be revealed at the end of May, when teams will learn whether or not they've made it to San Francisco’s global pitch, and a shot at $10,000 in seed funding to develop their app.
Good luck ladies, and we hope to see you again next year!