Students across regional Australia are urged to sign up for the 2017 Tech Girls Movement.
The non-profit initiative promotes career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
As part of the campaign, national competition Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero, challenges Australian female students to build an app prototype that will make their community a better place.
The winning team has the chance to fly to San Francisco to attend Silicon Valley’s global Technovation app pitch challenge.
Tech Girls Movement founder Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen said about 60 schools had signed up to the program and is expecting 2,500 girls to enter this year.
She said they were seeking more students from regional Australia, to allow them to learn more about careers in STEM and gain the same skills as those programs offered in metropolitan areas.
The teams are mentored for an hour a week over the 12-week competition by a woman who works in technology.
“They act as a role model and help create a professional network. They stay in touch after the competition is over,” Dr Beekhuyzen said.
The teams come up with a problem to solve and Tech Girls Movement helps them build a business plan, teaches them how to build their app, and how to finance the project.
“They look a pricing models, competitors, how to position it in the marketplace, and then pitch it in a YouTube video. It’s very entrepreneurial.”
Fairfax Media is a key supporter of the initiative. Chief information offer Robyn Elliott, who grew up in the regional town of Kyogle in NSW, said from learning to program as a hobby at school, her interest in solving problems with technology led her to study and work all over the world.
“I want the initiative to reach girls in regional Australia, to provide them with a pathway forward to careers in technology,” she said.
Registrations for the program close on April 14.
To sign up, visit www.techgirlsmovement.org