Technovation[MN] 2016 Allows Girls to Become Tech Entrepreneurs

by Stephanie Ussatis, on May, 3, 2016

“There are expected to be 1.4 million jobs available in computing fields by 2020, but women educated in America are on pace to fill just 3 percent of them.” (Media Planet) This is just one of the many astounding statistics that defends the mission and purpose of Technovation[MN].

Shawn Stavseth helped to bring the Global Technovation Challenge to Minnesota in 2014. Technovation[MN] is a 3-month project in which middle school and high school girls from the Twin Cities and surrounding Minnesota area are given the task to design and develop a mobile app along with a business plan that aims to solve an actual problem in their community. The competition aims to empower girls to develop their STEM education and close the gap in gender and technology and meet society’s rapidly growing demand for developers.

This year, there were over 50 teams of girls and over 50 judges, nearly doubling the turnout of last year. The event took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center where teams and judges were split into different rooms where. Girls had the opportunity to “pitch” their ideas and get feedback. The girls bravely stood in front of volunteer judges, parents and peers to present the app that they created and share the things that they learned and enjoyed about the Technovation Challenge.Technovation-challenge-group-in-conference

Each app was evaluated based on a universal judging rubric that included both objective and subjective scoring. This included criteria such as the design, the usability and the functionality of their apps. After deliberating, judges called each individual team to the front of the room to hear positive professional feedback and receive a medal.

At the close of the breakout sessions, all Technovation[MN] participants, volunteers and spectators gathered in the ballroom to hear the results and winners. After a brief dance party led by a few energetic teams and mentors, people settled in to listen to Team Furst Class, a 2015 Technovation Global Challenge finalist and Audience Choice award winner, who also presented the app at the White House Science Fair in Washington D.C. They shared the experience that they had at Technovation and the numerous selfies that they took while on their trip and at the White House. Following their brief presentation, founder of Iridescent, Tara Chklovski spoke more in depth about the mission of Technovation and the goals that they are hoping to achieve in the coming years.


Appapalooza closed with the announcement of the seven winning teams. These are the teams that will be entered into the semi-final round of the World Pitch Competition:

Middle School

J.A.T.S with Ace Assisted from St. Francis Assisi, Rochester MN
Ace Assisted is an app that help you find the perfect Rochester-area assisted living center.

Computer Glitz with Meals on Wheels from Dakota Hills Middle School, Eagan MN
The Meals on Wheels app improves the lives of Meals on Wheels clients, eases the work of volunteers, and connects people in the Meals on Wheels system.

Furst-Class Techies with Mission 2020 from Kasson-Mantorville Schools, Kasson-Mantorville MN
This educational app brings awareness to sex trafficking. It provides facts, vocabulary, red flags, reasons victims stay and additional resources for obtaining help.

Wayfinders with subWayfinder from St. John the Evangelist, Rochester MN
Do you have problems navigating the Rochester-Mayo subway? SubWAYfinder addresses problems such as finding places to eat, shop, and anything in between.

Tech-ATS with Help! I’m Hungry from BDPA Middle School, Rochester MN
Help! I’m Hungry is an easy way to find free food for people who can not afford to buy meals or groceries.

High School

Team Tator-Tot with CharterConnect from Avalon School, St. Paul MN
CharterConnect works as a resource bank, a network for teachers to connect and an event calendar, all in one.
Feminists & STEMinists with Volunteerium from Byron School, Byron MN
Our app “Volunteerium” will connect small communities, starting with our hometown of Byron, Minnesota

A huge congratulations to all winners and participants. We’re proud to be a part of a community like this and we are looking forward to seeing these bright young ladies doing great things in our industry!