British Columbia

SFU Technovation competition aims to get more girls into tech

SFU is trying to tackle the gender-gap in careers in science, technology, engineering and math by hosting a technology entrepreneurship program for girls.

Winners get a chance to pitch their projects in Silicon Valley and get funding

The participants of this team at the SFU Technovation competition are Terry Fox Secondary students. (Terry Fox Secondary/Twitter)

Simon Fraser University is trying to tackle the gender gap in technology by hosting an entrepreneurship competition for girls.

Technovation is a 12-week program that targets girls aged 10 to 18 and challenges them to develop a smartphone app and pitch it to a technology expert. 

"If we're only going to rely on the men in the workforce, it's not going to be large enough for these fields," said Lesley Shannon, a research chair with Women in Science and Engineering. "We need to have the women participating." 

Women account for one-fifth of science and technology workers in Canada. 

Shannon says programs like Technovation can be extremely impactful in getting more girls involved in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. 

Nicole Fonseca is a student at West Vancouver's Rockridge Secondary School and one of the participants. Her team is developing an app to help Syrian refugees in Canada.

"We're going to have all the educational resources, transit, information about our money and currency," she said. 

Fonseca, along with the all the teams, will have her app judged in April. If she wins, she get a chance to pitch her project in Silicon Valley and have it funded.

With files from Ash Kelly


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