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International Girls in ICT Day 2016 events


London, UK, 2016, April 28


London Pupils Learn How to Perfect Their Start-Up Pitch at Girls in ICT Day Event​

The GSMA hosted a class of east London schoolgirls as they learned how to launch a start-up business to celebrate Girls in ICT Day, the ITU's annual global initiative to encourage young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in school and inspire young women to consider careers in ICT. With the GSMA, a class of Year 8 (12-13 year-old) schoolgirls from The Bridge Academy in Hackney visited Wayra, Telefónica's start-up accelerator, to gain hands-on experience and insights from a range of inspirational technology leaders and innovators including:

  • Melinda Nicci, CEO and Founder of Baby2Body, which provides tailored advice for nearly and new mums to stay happy, healthy and look good
  • Vana Koutsomitis, runner-up of BBC1's The Apprentice in 2015 and Founder of DatePlay, a mobile app that combines online dating with gaming
  • Louise Easterbrook, Chief Financial Officer, GSMA
  • Amanda Smith, Account Manager at Open Data Institute, which connects and inspires people around the world to innovate with data
  • Henry Ludlam, CEO of TeamFirst, a fundraising platform for university societies and sports teams

Each speaker shared their personal success stories, highlighted the diverse benefits of working in the technology sector, and offered ideas on how young women can get involved in ICT while still at school.

"We are delighted to work with the GSMA to mark this year's Girls in ICT Day," said Chris Brown, Principal, The Bridge Academy. "The key aim for The Bridge Academy is to give our students the tools to thrive and succeed, both at school and in their future professional lives. The mobile industry and wider technology sector certainly offer them a wealth of exciting options for rewarding and challenging careers."

"According to the European Commission, women account for just 18 per cent of ICT specialists in Europe, so there is clearly much more to be done to bridge the gender gap and encourage more women to choose a career in technology," said Louise Easterbrook, Chief Financial Officer, GSMA. "Mobile is becoming increasingly entrenched in our everyday lives, fundamentally changing the way that we do business, make purchases, listen to music, access social media, watch videos, and so much more. We want to highlight the many exciting career opportunities available for women in the mobile industry through today's event."

The schoolgirls tested their business and technical skills through a number of interactive activities at Wayra, including:

  • Learning how to set up their own start-up business from Marina Atarova, Chief Marketing Officer of Dreamstake, an online platform for tech start-ups in London;
  • Improving their communication skills with body language training for pitch presentations from Emma Zangs, Public Speaking Consultant and Coach at Metaspeech;
  • Pitching their start-up ideas to the panel of industry speakers, Dragons' Den style; and

Learning to code by editing videos of their pitch presentations.