Teenage girls to receive funding & support for their own Science & Tech start-ups
29 April 2015
London – A ground-breaking approach for young women who want to create Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) based companies launched yesterday. Run by the award-winning social enterprise, Stemettes the ‘Outbox Incubator’ program will give teenage girls the funding and support to launch their own science or tech-based businesses. The program is supported by HRH The Princess Royal, the Salesforce Foundation and WISE.
As part of the programme, 45 girls aged 11-22 will spend six weeks learning and living together under one roof in the Outbox Incubator house. There they will be joined by experienced mentors to find out about running a business, developing a product and getting funding to take their ideas to market.
At the launch event at Salesforce Tower in London, nominated girls presented their ideas to HRH The Princess Royal, patron of Stemettes’ partner organisation WISE, and to industry partners, pitching for mentors and funding from industry and showcasing the great tech talent we have in our teenage girls.
The launch of the programme is also the beginning of a nationwide search for young female STEM entrepreneurs and talent to nominate themselves (or be nominated) to spend time in the Outbox Incubator house, free of charge. Stemettes are looking for participants that either already have a STEM-related idea, organisation, brand or product; or have a STEM talent which has been publicly recognised.
The Stemettes Outbox Incubator programme will run for six weeks from 27th July to 5th September 2015. It starts with a three-week ‘Germination’ period, followed by a public ‘Demo Day’ on 15th August and culminates with a three-week ‘Incubation’ period. The demo day will see angels and mentors pledging money, time and support to girls on the programme.
Currently, only 13 percent of those working in the UK’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths workforce are female, compared to nearly half in the wider workforce, despite their being a ‘skills gap’ in the industry. Child prodigy and Stemettes Founder, Anne-Marie Imafidon, said; “I am incredibly excited about this partnership and this programme. We are changing the course of history with this generation of girls.”
Salesforce Area Vice President, Melissa Di Donato, added; “The UK technology industry is facing a well-documented skills shortage, yet the number of women studying computer science at university is at an all-time low. This ground-breaking programme will make a real difference when it comes to encouraging girls to consider a career in technology—it is opening up a tangible career path they can aspire to. It’s so rewarding to be involved in mentoring these girls, I strongly encourage others to do so too."
WISE will be supporting the project by providing mentors from their network of highly skilled and inspirational female STEM members. Sarah Shaw, WISE Communications Director, commented: 'The Outbox Incubator is an amazing way to nurture future STEM stars and we are delighted to be involved with Stemettes and the girls benefitting from this unique experience. Showcasing these talented young women to our Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal and the WISE network will help to raise their profiles and attract well deserved attention, support and investment for their ideas and talent. We look forward to watching them grow.’
Stemettes was set up by Anne-Marie Imafidon in 2013 to inspire the next generation of girls into technology careers and in two years has reached 3,000 girls around the UK via public events, school workshops and schemes hosted in industry. This entrepreneurship programme supported by new partner WISE is an extension of Stemettes existing work & impact.