Technovation Girls 2021 kicks off today! Girls everywhere can sign up to become technology entrepreneurs. Over the next four months, Technovation Girls participants will work in teams to identify problems in their communities and build mobile apps to help solve those problems. Mentors and local Technovation Ambassadors support teams as they complete their projects.

This season begins in a time of great uncertainty. We don’t know what 2021 and the years beyond will hold, but we do know that girls and young people are full of ideas and passion to make sure it’s a better, fairer, safer future. They just need our support and encouragement. Technovation is deeply honored to be part of that support system by helping girls create technology that brings about the change they want to see.

Partnering to keep girls learning and building in 2021

This year, Technovation is also grateful for the support from our incredible partners and funders. We are particularly proud to continue our partnership with Shopify, which has been a strong Technovation partner in Canada for 6 years, and are excited to expand our partnership with them in 2021. We also look forward to connecting girls with dedicated, passionate volunteer mentors from Shopify who can share their expertise and enthusiasm.

We are also deeply honored to partner with UNESCO and its Global Education Coalition on Technovation Girls. We had the opportunity to collaborate with UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition for our Idea Lab Pilot in 2020. We look forward to continuing to work with UNESCO and its Global Education Coalition partners to ensure girls remain in school and continue to access the educational opportunities they deserve. Through this partnership, Technovation will reach more girls in places both new and familiar to Technovation programs. We are very excited that those girls get to explore being technology entrepreneurs for the first time. We look forward to this collaboration, with a particular focus on COVID-19 recovery and climate change.

We also want to extend our deepest thanks to all of our partners and funders who are committed to supporting girls’ technology education around the world.

What’s new to Technovation Girls in 2021

New Curriculum Units: Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

New lessons cover what artificial intelligence is and how you can use it, as well as how to collect good data for AI models. They also cover how to use artificial intelligence ethically and can help you decide if AI is right for your app.

In light of COVID-19 requiring more teams to work remotely, we are developing additional tools and resources for participants to collaborate at a distance (and be sure to check with your local Chapter or Club Ambassador). We will also host a series of Live Classes that will cover key milestones and curriculum topics. Learn more and join us!

Updated Judging Rubric and Submission Guidelines

We have updated the Technovation Girls Judging Rubric and Submission Guidelines for the 2021 season. You can find full details about these changes in our blog post from October. You can find a brief overview below.

Updated Submission Guidelines:

  • Teams will be required to submit a demo video that shows how the app works technically. This video must be 1 minute or less in length. (This was not part of submissions for the 2020 season)
  • Pitch videos now have a strict time limit of 3-4 minutes. We also recommend that everyone include English subtitles for their videos.
  • We’re asking teams to submit 2-6 images that showcase their Technovation journey instead of screenshots of their app (see suggestions on the Submission Guidelines page)
  • Senior Division only: the Senior Division Business Plan can now be 5-10 pages long.

Changes to the Judging Rubric

We have tweaked our Judging Rubric for the 2021 season. Please review the updated rubric before you start building your app, while you are building your app, and before you submit. Below you will find a brief summary of changes to each section of the rubric, but please review the full changes by studying the rubric and by reading our earlier blog post.

IDEATION: Teams must now identify the potential impact of their app, and will benefit from clearly explaining which Social Development Goal (SDG) their app aligns with. Teams can receive more points by explaining how their idea changed through user research and testing.

PITCH: we recommend a stronger focus on participants’ individual and team journeys, stories, and growth.

TECHNICAL: Please note the increased focus on user testing and re-designing. Please also note the new focus on sharing your technical learning.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP: No major changes

OVERALL IMPRESSION: No major changes, but if a team can show that some people are already using their app, it can be very powerful!

You can also watch this video breakdown to learn which curriculum lessons correspond to different parts of the judging rubric and submission guidelines.

Competition & Awards Structure

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all judging will take place online in 2021 Additionally, we have updated our Award Structure.

  • We will recognize an additional 2 finalists – for a total of 12 finalist teams (6 finalists per division).
  • Prize money will go to students this year, not chapter ambassadors.
  • We will announce additional special prizes, which will be open to ANY team, not only finalist or regional winner teams. These prizes will include:
    • a special recognition for teams who use artificial intelligence tools in their app
    • a special recognition for teams who are tackling climate change.

Our goal is to recognize more teams’ incredible efforts this season. We encourage everyone who participates in Technovation in any capacity to focus on their individual accomplishments, incredible resilience, and determination rather than the competition. We truly believe that by entering this program, every single participant has already shown themselves to be extraordinary.

Good Luck this season! 

We can’t wait to see what problems you choose to solve this year and hear all about your learning journeys as they unfold. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our recent blog post breaking down the types of problems girls choose to solve, or explore our new App Gallery. You can register to participate as a student or mentor for the 2021 season until March 12 (but we recommend starting now)!