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The Sunday night audience of the recent Startup Weekend Seattle Girls event was different than the usual crowd. It was full of parents, young siblings, and community members beaming with pride and excitement to see the girls’ final demos. This was the final day of a Startup Weekend created just for girls ages 10-15. The event was held at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, and was a first of its kind event focused on young women and showing them the possibilities of Startup Weekend and the world of entrepreneurship.

After the final pitches got started, it was clear how hard they all worked over the weekend. The presentations went smoothly and each girl on each team spoke about a different part of their new app or website. And did I mention how excited the parents were? A Dad’s celebration scream almost scared me right out of my seat when he found out his daughter’s team won!

One of my favorite parts of the day was when the girls were asked, “what did you learn over the weekend?” Their responses were all things I wish I had learned in middle school:

  • revenue streams
  • teamwork
  • task management
  • working under time pressure
  • how to build a website

While the event was wrapping up and the girls were celebrating, I got the opportunity to speak to a parent of one of the attendees, Jeff Sprung of Seattle. One of the awesome parts of Editions Month is hearing from new audiences and demographics – so I wanted to hear his story behind his daughter being involved and hear a parent’s perspective on events like this:

I asked about the motivation behind signing their daughter up for Startup Weekend Girls. It’s a strong message and inspiration for more events like this to happen:

“What’s still holding women back from reaching the very highest levels of professional America today are stereotypes and expectations. These limitations will continue to erode, and Startup Girls propels that erosion. As parents of a girl, we try to kickstart this change by teaching our daughter to reject stereotypes and expectations about who’s in charge and who can be in charge, to take risks and fail and get up and be willing to take risks again, to get in the face of people who deny her opportunity. Giving our daughter the opportunity to learn from experts how to start up a company fits this philosophy perfectly.”

Events with young ages like this need parental support. I talked to him about why experiences like this are important for girls from the parents’ point of view:

“Our economy, our government, and our communities benefit from the unique contributions women make. We want to teach our daughter that she can achieve whatever she wants, and whatever her male classmates can achieve. Given that women in our country earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, we still have a lot of work to do. I think Startup Girls can be part of the solution.”

Overall, the weekend went well and we’re thrilled to hear about learning new skills:

“My daughter worked hard and intensely to achieve what she and her team did over the weekend. This resulted in impressive accomplishments:  a great concept, financial modeling, a website, an app. I think it was eye-opening for her to see the incredibly hard work that goes into starting a new company. My wife and I were blown away by what these middle schools girls could accomplish over a weekend. We were particularly impressed by this generation’s adeptness with technology and new software applications. It far exceeds the skills of their parents’ generation!”

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Here are the final teams from the weekend, great job everyone!

1st place – Warefair

An app to guide customers to clothing retailers that practice ethical and sustainable business choices.

2nd place – Chore Hub

Helping connect neighbors through exchanging chores, easy solution to finding help for the chores you dislike!

3rd place – Monster Cupcakes

An app and website to create custom cupcakes and have them delivered to your door, pick out the flavor, frosting, decorations, etc!

Most Passionate – Pit Souls

A website dedicated to changing the people’s perception of pitbull dogs, inspired by one of the team member’s own dog.

Most Ambitious – Open Door

A website aimed at helping the homeless get back on their feet with a network of resources available online and in their local community.

 

For more information on this event and the organizing team, please visit: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/seattle/startup-weekend/5279

Interested in organizing a Startup Weekend for Girls or Youth? Learn more about bringing it to your community.

 

 


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Kacey Wherley
(@kaceyraewherley) is Marketing Manager at Techstars, located in Seattle. Before joining the Techstars team, Kacey was part of the UP Global team and previously with a cyber security startup in Pittsburgh. She enjoys all things social media and connecting with the community online.