New #bossgirls Program Bridges Gender Gap in Tech

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Do you know who the #bossgirls are?

They’re the ten high school and college freshmen disrupting the norm this summer at the Zahn Center. As part of the women’s entrepreneurship initiative sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, we’ve debuted a new program designed to introduce girls to entrepreneurship and innovative technology.

This unique program combines our lean startup methodology bootcamp with elements of STEM. While there’s a focus on entrepreneurship and developing business acumen, these students are also learning coding and complete prototyping workshops in our Maker Lab.

Over the course of six weeks, the #bossgirls will team up to create tech-focused solutions for some of New York City’s greatest challenges including:

Sustainability – one team wants to protect properties from mold & other symptoms of flooding

Education — these #bossgirls will inform middle and high school students of career opportunities

Accessibility — this team’s focus is on making the MTA more accessible for those with mobility challenges

Healthcare — they’ll tackle the spread of pathogens in hospitals and urgent care facilities

Cool, right?

Yes, they receive mentorship from experts at Standard Chartered Bank, but they also have mentors within the startups at the Zahn Center and our “Superuser” (an apprenticeship opportunity out of our MakerLab) program. Best of all, they’re learning a human-centered design approach to social entrepreneurship, as well as conducting customer research, so that they can create solutions that New Yorkers really want. It’s a collaborative effort that weaves together different disciplines, creating a curriculum that is both explorative and practical. In the end, we hope it helps to cultivate those unicorn-like ideas.

Our #bossgirls hail from each of the five boroughs (plus Long Island and Northern New Jersey), and they’re very excited to make their mark Silicon Alley. On August 14th, they’ll pitch their final projects to a panel of judges Shark Tank-style. Follow us day of on social media @ZahnCenterNYC for updates!