Women and Technology

AnnieCannons Technology Program for Survivors

By AnnieCannons

Location

United States

Team Leader

Laura Hackney

Our solution:

Economic power is the key to breaking the cycle of exploitation among vulnerable communities. At AnnieCannons, our solution is to transform survivors of human trafficking into software professionals through a holistic program that trains and equips survivors to independently support themselves and their families.

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Our pitch:

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The problem:

Economic opportunity is an unmet need for survivors of human trafficking. Few anti-trafficking organizations are focused on job training for survivors, and those that are train in low-skilled, highly-gendered work that cannot support a living wage. AnnieCannons offers survivors the economic opportunity they need to sustain a lifetime of freedom in a supportive, trauma-informed work environment. We train survivors of human trafficking in-demand technical skills through our coding bootcamp, and then help graduates build a sustainable source of income by sourcing project-based work through our development shop.

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Why our solution will solve the problem:

By empowering survivors to earn an income that makes them comfortable and instilling the tech business, finance, and development skills they need to build their own solutions, we fight trafficking, gender-based violence, and discrimination from the inside out.  Students who enter our program report that they had been in and out group homes, abusive homes, and shelters - but AnnieCannons graduates stay out of exploitation for good. We leverage the software industry’s growth to disrupt human trafficking by developing a post-training income model that enhances the strengths of these individuals and mitigates the effects of trauma.

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Our solution's stage of development:

Growth

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Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

We work with girls and young women who, in many ways, have been failed by our communities and governmental systems that have been tasked with ensuring their education or safety. We partner with shelters to ensure long-term stability for our students, and deploy our curriculum in a safe learning environment with instructors who are trauma-informed or survivors themselves. We see our impact through the income earned by our students, the hourly rate reflected by that income, and, most importantly, the satisfaction our students have in their lives, futures, skills, and potential to give back.

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How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: 50% of survivors living in shelters in the Bay Area, New York, and Atlanta go through our program.
    Measurement Plan: Track number of shelter partners in each city as well as number of students going through our program.
  • Outcome: Reach the self-sustaining threshold for the organization.
    Measurement Plan: Track the commissions earned through our dev shop and be able to fund our core programmatic expenses through this revenue.
  • Outcome: 80% of students who enter the program are eligible to take client projects from the organization.
    Measurement Plan: Track the number of students who pass qualifications, finish the courses, and successfully complete one or more client projects at incomes starting at $20/hour+.
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The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Primary
  • Female
  • Urban
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The regions we will benefit initially:

  • US and Canada
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The countries we will benefit initially:

  • United States
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Technology

The technologies we employ:

  • Consumer-facing software (mobile applications, cloud services)
  • Digital systems (machine learning, control systems, big data)
  • Management & design approaches
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Why our solution is unique:

We are the only organization that provides training in high-paying or technical skills to human trafficking survivors anywhere in the world.  We are also the only organization using our business skills and experience to secure client work for them to earn in a flexible, trauma-recovery-friendly environment. Coding Bootcamps are expensive and do not offer the trauma-informed training or holistic support necessary to bring exploited populations into the STEM fields demanding diversity. Our graduates work on projects that address issues facing women and girls in world today and they are in a unique position to do so. 

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Why our solution is human-centered:

Our curriculum is both the technology and the bridge to bring our students into STEM. Our materials are removed of the assumptions and privilege that often act as barriers into the technology industry, and we provide a product-based learning model that ensures that each student is building a piece of technology - addressing an issue that she cares about - as she learns how software development really works. Our curriculum and the technology produced in our classes spread the affects of our work through our graduates addressing problems with technology in a human-centered way.

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How people will access our solution:

Our solution is offered in partnerships with shelters who serve survivors of human trafficking. These partners are critical in providing referrals and ongoing holistic care. For our students, the program is available at no cost. We provide all of the hardware, including laptops and mobile WiFi units, and the software and curriculum license necessary to learn the materials and work efficiently on client projects.

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Technology-Readiness Level:

9 (Commercial)
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Our website

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Our app

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Business Plan

Our organization:

Non-Profit

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Where we are located:

United States
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How we will sustain our team financially:

Our current model exists as a hybrid of charitable donations and commission from client project revenue we source for our graduates. We have a scaling commission model that ranges from 2% to 15%, depending on the sophistication of the project and the required project management hours of our team. With 70 graduates working full-time, AnnieCannons can sustain and expand our training operations to hire more instructors, open more centers across the United States, and build our client base. We would then plan to expand our operations to work with our partners in countries such as Myanmar, Romania, and Ghana. 

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The factors limiting our success:

Our top risks include housing crises and customer bias. All of our students enter class living on a subsistence amount of money.  If they lose their housing for any reason, their ability to succeed is greatly inhibited. We also know from our market research that a segment of our potential customer base for our dev shop carries inherent bias toward survivors, assuming they are incapable of sophisticated, intellectual work like computer programming. In many ways, this bias is applied to all women, particularly women of color. 

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How long we have been working on our solution:

3 years
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How long it will take to develop a pilot:

We have already developed a pilot.
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How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:

We have already scaled beyond pilot.
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Our expected annual budget:

$300000

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How much of our budget we've secured to date:

$210000

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Our promotional video:

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Our promotional materials:

https://twitter.com/anniecannons

https://facebook.com/anniecannons

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC9npsWijQE

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Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • Technology Access
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Income Generation
  • Future of Work
  • STEM Education
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Why we're applying to Solve:

Every day, we work with women and girls who have been dismissed as not being capable of contributing to our society with their talent and their intellect. We were so pleased to see the 'Women and Technology' category because we want to collaborate in a space that values the intersection of innovation and equality. Our project depends on those who believe in an individual's potential regardless of what our society has decided for her. The Solve community is made up of those individuals, and we would like to be a part of it. 

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Our current partners:

Alameda County Family Justice Center, Palantir Technologies, SAP, Stanford University, Github, Twitter, City of Oakland’s Mayor Taskforce on Commercial Sexually Exploited Children, Ruby's Place, Pluralsight, Hack Reactor, MISSSEY

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Solution Team

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