As my time at SHAD ended at Dalhousie University and we all stood outside of the lecture hall, giddy with the relief of having our pitches behind us, the program director pointed out an interesting fact: out of the 6 teams, each with 5 girls and 4 boys, almost all the teams had entirely male presenters representing their business. For some SHAD’s this was a shock and for others the dominating gender difference hadn’t even been noticed (societies values and roles already deeply ingrained in their minds). But as the director made a small speech and asked us to be reflect on why this was the case, and what led up to the choosing of our speakers, I grinned with appreciation for him as well as with the anticipation of my internship.
Communitech is in the heart of downtown Kitchener. It is an innovation hub for tech startups and is currently striving towards creating a Toronto, Waterloo corridor. For the month of August I have been working with the Fierce Founders team, a subdivision of Communitech’s Women in Technology program. Fierce Founders is a bootcamp and accelerator program for women with tech startups that originated with the hopes to lessen and ultimately eliminate the working gender gap (especially in entrepreneurship).
I have had the privilege to work among some of the most passionate, driven and inspiring developers and founders of this program in order to further develop and establish a sustainable service. Twice a year, the top 25 women are selected to work in Communitech, while using their resources and networks to create a solid foundation for their own business’. Of course, in order to up the ante, the top 8 women compete for a $100,000 prize. Next week is the final competition. As a fellow SHAD and I scramble with the last minute preparations - emailing judges, designing the rubrics, making packages and brainstorming the most efficient room distribution and time schedule - we are looking forward to hearing the female founders ideas come to life.
Not only have I already learned to use excel more efficiently, design flowcharts, create databases and attend team meetings, but I have also had the opportunity to explore various career paths, understand what it takes to run a program and get a glimpse into Canada’s tech future! Thank you to Communitech for welcoming me into your business and a big thanks to SHAD for having internships available to us!