Women and Technology

Rebrand Tech! Diversity through media, mentoring, community

By SHE++

Location

United States

Team Leader

Katherine Van Kirk

Our solution:

SHE++ inspires diverse women in tech and helps them succeed! We inspire girls with media about compelling technical women. We coach high school women to lead hands-on projects showcasing technology in their communities, and bring finalists to Silicon Valley to network. SHE++ is low-cost, scalable, and run by college volunteers.

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Our pitch:

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The problem:

Teaching women and girls to code is critical, but only part of the solution. Women drop out of tech at higher rates than men all along the pipeline (Hewlett et. al, 2008). SHE++ provides role models, inspiration, and a lifelong support network--high school to college, college to industry and beyond--for women in tech. Our network promotes mentorship across all stages in the tech industry, fosters leadership development, and rebrands what it means to be a technologist.

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Why our solution will solve the problem:

To succeed, women in tech need positive role models, near-peer mentoring, and peer support (http://www.pnas.org/content/114/23/5964.long, others). At SHE++, tech women of all ages find inspiration through media outreach. College STEM students mentor high schoolers, who become self-starters and find role models. College mentors develop a network of peers to support them in college and beyond.

SHE++ has served over 2,000 high school students, and 85% of students in 16/17 program reported they would take a CS class in future. College alumnae are thriving at Google, Facebook and other top companies.

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Our solution's stage of development:

Growth

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Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

SHE++ media showcases diverse role models to rebrand technology and showcases what it means to be a successful technologist. Given coaching, resources, and access to a diverse technical community, high school women become self-starters. College women develop leadership skills as they run SHE++, mentor,  and fundraise for programmatic growth. And alumni of all programs and initiatives join together to form a network, supporting each other in college and careers, and mentoring the next generation of young tech leaders.

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How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: The image of who is a successful technologist changes over time to be more inclusive (less about guys with hoodies, more about women, people of color, and diverse people of all kinds).
    Measurement Plan: Measure engagement with video (views, views to completion, repeat views).. Survey viewers to ask (a) “who can be successful in tech?” and (b) “did your perception change because of our video?”
  • Outcome: High school women develop confidence and close relationships with college mentors/role models by bringing tech to their local communities.
    Measurement Plan: Survey high school participants to determine intent to take a CS class in future. Track participants into college to see how many follow through on intent.
  • Outcome: SHE++ college participants become leaders in the tech industry.
    Measurement Plan: Survey SHE++ college leadership to determine intent to: a) complete STEM degree, b) obtain first job in tech field (and/or apply for advanced STEM degree). Track participants into industry to see how many follow through on intent.
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The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • High-income economies
  • Upper middle income economies (between $3976 and $12275 GNI)
  • Female
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The regions we will benefit initially:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • US and Canada
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The countries we will benefit initially:

  • India
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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Technology

The technologies we employ:

  • Consumer-facing software (mobile applications, cloud services)
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Why our solution is unique:

We’re not about teaching girls to code. We’re about connection. We’re about inspiring by telling stories of diverse role models. We’re about building a community that will support female tech leaders beyond SHE++.

We’re uniquely positioned to protect the pipeline from high school to college to industry. We’re a network. And we grow with student passion -- we’re almost entirely run by diverse college women in STEM.

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Why our solution is human-centered:

Our work is about connecting with others. Whether our students are inspired by a diverse success story, mentored by a role model, or professionally supported by SHE++ peers, we’re learning from each other.

We’re building a network of strong, diverse leaders in tech.

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How people will access our solution:

We will collaborate with partners that serve the same demographic. We will continue to build our online community with inspiring content and storytelling. We are also committed to maintaining diversity as we grow. SHE++ currently serves 75% women of color, and the college team is also majority women of color, both in the US and internationally. We want to maintain this diversity as we grow, as well as expand our reach into communities that are socio-economically diverse.

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Technology-Readiness Level:

9 (Commercial)
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Our website

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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:

We will continue to grow and cultivate our donor network and corporate relationships, which already bring in $150K annually. As we grow, we will consider additional sources of funding such as earned income models and grants. We have a current grant from the NSF and are building relationships with other potential institutional funders. Finally, as our chapters grow, we will coach new chapters on fundraising in their local communities, to open up new potential sources of funds.

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The factors limiting our success:

SHE++ is run by students for students. While this has been our key to success and major differentiator, leadership made up of full-time students with academic commitments limits our growth rate. In the last three months, we have hired our first full-time employee in hopes of mitigating this limitation. We plan to maintain a diverse, decentralized student leadership as we expand, with a small full-time staff providing coaching and support.

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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:

$350000

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

$105000

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Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • Technology Access
  • Post-secondary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • STEM Education
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Why we're applying to Solve:

SHE++’s media and mentorship will change the image of who can be successful in tech and create a more egalitarian, innovative industry.

Solve would help us expand SHE++ to inspire more women and support diverse women along the tech pipeline, from high school to the C-suite.

SHE++ already reaches 5 continents, with chapters in London and Cape Town. With Solve’s international reach, we would grow in the US, UK and South Africa, as well as India and other expanding economies . With Solve, we believe we could globally rebrand the image of a technologist make tech truly inclusive.

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Our current partners:

Sequoia Capital

Accel Partners

Two Sigma

Khosla Ventures

Zetta Ventures

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Solution Team

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