Girl Geek Academy Rolls Out Its World-First #SheHacks Hackathon

Libby Jane Charleston
on 3 February 2017

Girl Geek Academy has raised an impressive $1.3 million for its world-first #SheHacks hackathon, to support them in creating new technology businesses.

The #SheHacks Victoria online program is recruiting 1,000 women interested in building a business and finding their ideal co-founders. A series of boot camps and mentoring sessions across Melbourne and three regional locations will help prepare individuals and teams for participation in the #SheHacks Victoria hackathon in June.

Victorian Government innovation board has backed the initiative with $300,000 in funding. A further $1 million has been contributed from the GO1 Learning Portal, an Australian-owned tech start-up backed by Y-Combinator and Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter.

At the #SheHacks Victoria hackathon, 200 attendees will form 60 teams who each will build, market test and pitch their minimal viable product (MVP). Teams will then have one month to get early users on board before finalists showcase their business at the #SheHacks Showcase – a celebration of Victorian women in tech.

Sarah Moran, Co-founder and CEO of Girl Geek Academy told Women Love Tech they’re pleased to have backing from the Victorian government and partner GO1, as well as 21 other supporters in the start-up community.

“This backing is a crucial step in rolling out our mission of helping more women to become a viable part of Victoria’s start-up and technology ecosystem,” Moran said.

“It’s currently very challenging for women to find fellow founders, which is often crucial to starting and succeeding in a new tech venture. The #SheHacks Victoria program will provide multiple touchpoints throughout the year for women to find co-founders and receive valuable support for taking their business ideas to market.”

Credit Photo: Girl Geek Academy

#SheHacks is the first hackathon in the world dedicated to increasing the number of female founded start-ups by taking their MVP and supporting them for two months after the hackathon. To increase the number of women involved, the recruitment process will include boot camps to ensure women are best equipped to get value from the program.

To maximise the impact of the #SheHacks program, Girl Geek Academy aims to provide early career experience in start-ups by targeting university students for the program. This includes training students to be founders and exposing them to potential start-up career pathways.

#SheHacks Victoria 2017 will host university teams, corporate teams and individual teams created from women across Victoria looking to found a start-up together. Each team selects a problem they believe needs solving before testing the market with early stage ideas and their MVP. The focus is on building the capabilities of the start-up team to work together over the longer term.

Finalists will take to the stage to pitch their success or failure to date and their plans for future investment and growth. They will pitch to investors, corporates and the extended Victorian start-up community.

Girl Geek Academy was founded by five skilled female digital professionals who want to increase the number of women with successful STEM careers. The team works to see an increase of women in tech, women in games, women who make, female designers and female founders. Initiatives include coding and hackathons, 3D printing and wearables, game development, design, entrepreneurship and start-ups.

“#SheHacks is unlike regular hackathons, as it starts with an assembled team rather than team recruitment based on pitches. The initiative will showcase Victoria as the best place in the world for a woman to join a startup,” said Moran.

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