Date

24-25 September

Venue

Entrepreneur First

Teams

20 teams, aged 12-18

Judges

updating shortly...

ABOUT #AcornHackWOW

Technology is embedded in our everyday lives. A global technology revolution is taking place. But if women and girls aren’t a part of it, the future for women’s rights and a more equal, balanced society, is bleak. We seek to empower and enhance female representation in technology.

On 24-25th Sept, forty teenage girls who have never coded before were inspired to take their first steps into tech entrepreneurship and to turn their original ideas into working prototypes.

At a hackathon event over 48 hours, teenage girls created six working technology prototypes designed to help them improve their studying and revision. All have subsequently secured work experiences in tech companies across London as a result of their prototypes.

Teenage girls, who would not normally consider tech or computer science, were inspired to get creative with digital technology, as well as attending masterclass workshops in ideation, prototyping, APIs, lean UX, coding and Business Model Canvas . The purpose of this event was to equip young women with the tools that will enable them to become change-makers and entrepreneurs of their own lives.

#AcornHackWow was designed to compliment a Women in Tech event held at Royal Geographical Society, organised by  WOW Talks in partnership with Acorn Aspirations, Empiric and AppsForGood. Female founders and tech entrepreneurs shared their journeys and stories with the mission to inspire the next generation of female tech entrepreneurs.

Judges of the hackathon included Alice Bentinck, MBE, co-founder of Entrepreneur First, Aftab Malhutra, CEO of Growth Enabler, Kim Arazi, CEO of WOW Talks and Darryll Bannon, head of business at Virtually Reality.

After the jam-packed weekend all teams have been offered work experience in tech companies through NextTechGirls, Virtually Reality cardboards, discounts on VR Experience workshops courtesy of Virtually Reality; the winning team received Dear Female Founder books by Blooming Founders, 1:1 mentoring and a career development coaching as well as FREE immersive VR workshop by Virtually Reality.

The following tech start-ups have been created within 48 hours:

Fineline: A reference image finder for creatives with filters to sort through images.

RevisionHack: A revision planner that helps students to manage their study and their social time and ensuring that they still get enough sleep

London College Finder: A website allowing GCSE and A-level students to select the right college for them.

Findography: An app that helps photo-enthusiasts to easily find and share interesting locations for photography shoots.

StyleObsessUK: A website that allows the user to compare the prices/styles/reviews/quality of similar high street brand items, all in one place.

ReviseIt: an app designed to help students revise for exams using a system of flashcards and swipe screens

Elena Sinel, founder of Acorn Aspirations said:

What we cannot see we cannot be – WOWTalks have offered 1,000 young girls an opportunity to meet some of the most accomplished women in tech. Some then took the chance to turn their ideas into digital prototypes within a matter of 48 hours. We know that when girls are equipped with the right tools and surrounded by strong female role-models, it gives them the confidence to architect their own futures.

Savanna Sullivan, age 19 from Elstree UTC said:

I took a really wide variety of things away from AcornHackWOW …One of the best things about it was that everyone there no matter how successful or skillful, were really approachable and offered so much great advice.   Just to be in a room full of people with common interests all excited about what they do gives you a lot of confidence and hope that you can do something that makes you happy too.

Elliott Denhem, from GrowthEnabler said:

Acorn Aspirations is comprehensively serving a niche and a gap in our education system. The rates at which these girls developed left me gobsmacked. The relevance of the practical applied teachings made me question my Masters qualification. And the solutions were so well developed that they could easily giving the app stores’ most popular apps a run for their money.” More in his LinkedIn Pulse post.

Danny Hearn, former UX consultant at John Lewis, said:

I believe that using the hackathon format as a tool of education is a really powerful way of teaching. During the event young women, were practicing in collaboration, drawing on each others strengths and weakness and creating something they all believed in. They were exposed to the principles of scrum and agile, using techniques I’d gleaned straight out of some of the best design agencies. More in his Blog post.

Hackathon Judges

Kim Arazi

CEO, WOW TALKS

I am an entrepreneur with 10 years of event strategy, creation, production and management experience in the mobile industry, producing high-profile events around the world such as the global mobile awards, large int'l conferences, networking events and CEO Summits. Companies who have partnered on my events include Samsung, Nokia,

Darryl Banon

Head of Figures & Charts, Virtually Reality

I am Head of figures andCcharts for Virtually Reality. I have lead on several IT systems programmes while in finance. I did my MBA thesis on digital innovation within retail and study virtual try-on technologies.

Aftab Malhotra

CO-FOUNDER, GROWTHENABLER

Aftab Malhotra is the Co-founder & Chief Growth Officer at GrowthEnabler; providing data, research & intelligence on disruptive technologies and digital innovations from the global startup economy, to enable corporate business leaders and startup entrepreneurs to collaborate and grow. In his philanthropic life, Aftab actively supports social impact causes

Alice Bentick

CO-FOUNDER/COO, ENTREPRENEUR FIRST

Alice Bentinck MBE is a British technology consultant, educator and blogger. She is the co-founder and COO of Entrepreneur First, a London-based startup accelerator for UK and Central European tech graduates, and also the co-founder of the Code First: Girls free web programming courses for women in university. An

#ACORNHACKWOW

Sponsors & Supporters

testimonials

We do not provide laptops, so please bring your own.
YES! We will provide lunch 🙂
Acorn Aspirations is a social impact company, which aims to inspire young people aged 11-19 into the world of technology and entrepreneurship. We are on a mission to bridge the digital skills gap and nurture the next generation of digital talent to fill the jobs required by the tech industry.  
ThoughtWorks, 76-78 Wardour St, Soho, London W1F 0UR
You will learn how to turn your ideas into a basic working version. Things you'll learn:
  • How to decide which of your ideas are worth working on
  • How to decide what features the user needs to get them from A to B
  • How to sketch your ideas
  • How to build your idea using rapid prototyping tools
  • How to pitch your idea
  • Basic coding skills & UX - HTML, CSS and Android studio
Awesome! Send us an email to elena@acornaspirations.co.uk 🙂

Podcast: Emily Atkinson, Director of Girls In Tech; Cathy White, Director of GeekGirls Meetup; Elena Sinel, CEO of Acorn Aspirations, Mike Butcher, Editor-at-Large of TechCrunch