According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, the US will be home to 1.4 million jobs in the computer science sector. Women outnumber men in college graduation rates but in 2014, women made up just a quarter of the tech industry. The percentage of women studying computer science has dropped to 12% from 37% a decade ago.
Girls in Tech (GIT) founder and CEO Adriana Gascoigne has been focused on changing those statistics since 2007 when she launched the global non-profit aimed at the engagement, education, and empowerment of influential women in technology and entrepreneurship, a powerful pairing.
Headquartered in San Francisco, GIT operates over 47 active chapters worldwide, from North America and Europe to Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, and South America, offering initiatives for women and girls to become innovators in the tech space.
This November, Girls in Tech, in partnership with GoDaddy and YouNoodle, is hosting Lady Pitch Night, a half-day pitch competition for early-stage tech startups for female entrepreneurs to be held in San Francisco.
Ten finalists will pitch their projects on November 9, 2015 to a panel of tech professionals and investors who will be judging based on the innovativeness and viability of the product of service. Winners will receive a cash price along with additional resources, including office space provided by RocketSpace and equipment, as well as mentorship to move their project forward.
Competitors must have a developed technology (software, hardware, or mobile product) with at least one female founder and must be headquartered in the region where the competition is held. The innovation must also be between 6 and 36 months old. Gascoigne shares the competition is open to all ages and industries.
Finalists will have the chance to hear from academics, diplomats, and top female startup founders and will be able to network with designers, engineers, venture capitalists, and others who can help bolster their careers. "We are also launching a mentorship program to help foster and refine presentations and pitches prior to the event," shares Gascoigne. "After the event, mentors will help further develop and enhance the product."
Gascoigne shares the November competition will be the US launch of Lady Pitch Night following five years in Paris with competitors from Europe and Israel. Lady Pitch Nights are also planned for Dubai, Nigeria, and India.
Tech is a good space for women with lots of opportunities for women in the right ecosystem with the right resources. There's a market demand. GIT is committed from the top to foster educational engagement and empowerment to help entrepreneurs help take their products and careers to the next level.
To Gascoigne, the increasing engagement of women in the tech space will have significant impact throughout the world. "Technology and innovation will make social impact by building something bigger than ourselves," she says. "We are constructing an interconnected web of relationships that transcends race and ethnicity. We realize every day that the world is a lot smaller than we think."
For more information on Girls in Tech, visit http://www.girlsintech.org/
For more information on Lady Pitch Night or to apply, visit http://girlsintech.org/ladypitchnightsf/.
• Wednesday, July 8, 2015 : Applications open.
• Thursday, October 1, 2015: Deadline to Submit Your Full "Application"
• Thursday, October 15, 2015: 10 Finalists notified and introduced to mentors
• Week of October 19, 2015: 10 Finalists interviewed
• Monday, November 9, 2015: 10 Finalists pitch live at BeSpoke in San Francisco.