The following post has been adapted from content provided by Tracey Welson-Rossman, Founder of TechGirlz.
TechGirlz has been fortunate enough to receive two grants from the Call for Ideas from StartupPHL. The grants have allowed us to beta test and iterate on ideas that have allowed us to expand the reach of how we inspire middles school girls to be part of the innovation economy.
The first grant allowed us to put our undocumented and unorganized tech summer entrepreneur camp into an documented and organized fashion. Why is this important? For TechGirlz, it allows us to have more than the person who created the course to teach. It also allows us to feel confident about these courses to be used by others. They are now part of our TechShopz library. Since we have had success with this camp, we are working to have other groups utilize the materials to teach more girls about how they can be part of the tech startup economy.
The second grant allowed us to beta test a program to encourage more volunteers who are not tech professionals, but have tech skills – high school and college students. The school/student program allows us to partner with these secondary schools who are teaching tech courses and have their students, under the guidance of their teacher, instruct middles school girls. We spent the year putting the program together, creating relationships with schools and finally, beta tested the idea in March with Philadelphia Academies at Roxborough. Besides the obvious benefits to the middle school girls, there were some discoveries we made about the young adults. First, they were able to practice their new skills by teaching, they learned organizational and leadership skills and they were great role models for the younger kids. The outcome, we are currently working with 10 local schools to have TechShopz in the next school year. We will be tracking how many of these new instructors become instructors outside of their school environments and also how many of the middle school girls decide to take the tech classes at the high school level.
The StartupPHL Call for Ideas program funds innovative and exciting proposals that support Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. You can apply for the fifth round of Call for Ideas online now.