I was invited recently to be a judge at the regional pitch event of technovation challenge Cameroon. The experience is one I know I won’t forget its impact in myself, those present and the future of our communities. Here is why. Every year technovation, (a program of Iridescent, a 501c3 nonprofit that helps scientists, engineers and technology professionals to share their passion with children from underrepresented groups) challenges girls Between 10 and 19 years all over the world to build a mobile app that will address a community problem and the team with the best app wins a cash prize of 10.000usd in seed funding to help them launch their app. This program is one of its kind that has been changing the attitude of girls about technology and entrepreneurship. Beatrice Kepseu the regional ambassador of Technovation in Cameroon, a 2014 finalist herself was inspired by this and brought it back home. After a very successful participation in 2015, she did not relent her efforts this year. I was past of those who witnessed the quarter finals and the presentations made by the several teams who submitted their projects. While having the difficult task alongside the other judges of evaluating if the apps were a solution to a community problem and marketable, I was overjoyed by the hope I could perceive in our future because of these young girls who are being awakened to their potential as women and contribution to their communities using technology. Not so long ago technical education was one field cultural barriers had brandished as male domains and no go areas for women. Today technovation and several other projects have opened up this world to young girls and the female fold. Amongst the several mobile apps pitched, these young girls sought to solve terrorism, theft, juvenile delinquency, insecurity, abuse, pregnancy risks etc.
Lessons learnt: -Passion when guided with knowledge will definitely grow to impact and bring change to our communities -Investing in the education of our girls is a long-term and sustainable investment -Our inherent multitasking abilities as women, is one that can contribute to comprehensive and whole inventions. It takes a woman to think through to the least detail. -Leaders of tomorrow must be nurtured today if we want to have a better world. -Creativity is dependent on opportunities and it is our responsibility as leaders, mentors, coaches, models to create these opportunities and platforms for our daughters and sisters -Above all an extraordinary life is a life that lives its passion and purpose!technovationcam2016 #pitchchallenge #techwomen #femaleentrepreneurs #femalestartups #codegirls #purpose #passion