KID REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK

Girls Showcase Their World-Changing Apps

Manat Kaur with Google CEO, Sundar Pichai.
Manat Kaur with Google CEO, Sundar Pichai.

Manat with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.

Nearly 100 girls from 12 different countries gathered at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, on August 10. They were finalists in Technovation, the world’s largest entrepreneurship competition for girls ages 10-18. Nearly 1,100 teams from more than 100 countries participated this year.

The teams built mobile apps to solve problems in their communities. Over the course of five months, the girls went through 100 hours of training and created an app and a business plan with the help of a mentor.

In partnership with Google’s Made With Code, this year’s finalists were flown to San Francisco to take part in the finale week called the World Pitch Summit.

 

“HOPE FOR THE FUTURE”

Girls from across the U.S. and as far away as Cambodia, Kazakhstan, India, and Kenya created apps to improve lives in their community. Their apps help pregnant women, victims of female genital mutilation, and encourage people to recycle, to name a few examples.The finalists pitched their apps to a panel of five judges from the tech field.

At the awards ceremony, Google CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed “creators, coders, and future entrepreneurs.” Assuring the young participants that there would be a place for them in the tech industry, he said, “Seeing girls here tonight gives me hope for the future.”

Team Dementia Care Companion with Manat Kaur.

Manat with a team of girls who created an award-winning app that helps people with dementia

YOUNG PROBLEM SOLVERS

After a family friend was diagnosed with dementia, Katrina from Hong Kong assembled a team to build a Dementia Care Companion app. “We realized that dementia is a serious problem in Hong Kong and worldwide,” Katrina said. “Being at Technovation helps us raise awareness.” 

The team created a version of Mahjong, the popular Chinese game, using photos and voices of loved ones to help patients remember their family. The girls won first prize in the Junior Division, which included $10,000 in prize money.

QamCare, an app created by a team from Kazakhstan, helps people stay safe when they are walking alone at night. One of the girls explained how she was followed by a man while walking home. In Kazakhstan, nine people, mostly young girls, go missing every day. QamCare won the first prize of $15,000 in the Senior Division.

Thirty percent of Technovation alumnae in the U.S. go on to major in Computer Science in college. That is 65 times the national rate for female college students. Technovation founder Tara Chklovski encouraged the finalists to inspire other girls to cultivate their tech skills.

“Technovation has given you wings,” Chklovski said. “Now it is your turn to give wings to others.”

Photos courtesy of the author