Innovative Nigerian girls win People’s Choice award at 2019 Technovation Challenge

Team BrainSquad (twitter/technovationNig)
  • After winning the State, Regional & National Level, Nigerian all-girls team ‘Brain Squad’ succeeded in making it to the final round of the 2019 Technovation Challenge. 
  • Unfortunately, they lost to junior division teams from India and Cambodia in Asia.
  • However, their impressive fundraising app called ‘Hands Out’ earned them the People’s Choice award.

Technovation’s annual challenge encourages young girls all over the world to develop apps that can tackle real-life problems in their communities.

This year was no different with contestants in the junior and senior categories providing solutions to problems like opioid addiction, pollution, insecurity, sexual assault, humanitarian assistance and access to education.

A group of five Nigerian girls working as team ‘Brain Squad’ had the bright idea to develop an app that would make it easy for people to make donations to help the needy pay for school fees, food, shoes, books, stationery, medication and more.

Their impressive fundraising app, Hands Out, helped them scale through the State, Regional and National Levels before making to the final round of the 2019 Technovation Challenge — the Technovation World Pitch.

Representing Nigeria as the only African team left in the competition, Brain Squad, made up of Ayomikun Ariyo, Ivana Mordi, Jadesola Kassim, Munachiso Chigbo and Pandora Onyedire, pitched their app along with almost 50 girls at the world's largest tech entrepreneurship program in the United States.

Unfortunately, they lost to teamSocial Relay from India, the winners in this year's Junior Division and team Litertree from Cambodia, Asia, who came in second place. The winning teams took home up to $15,000 in scholarship money.

Team Brain Squad, however, was named this year’s People’s Choice award recipients following a week of online voting.

Reacting to the problem-solving ideas pitched at the event, Technovation Founder and CEO, Tara Chklovski said, “It’s always very different from what Silicon Valley thinks is relevant and critical. When else would you get an opportunity to listen to young girls from all around the world, from countries that you would never think are leading technology innovation.

“Every year, we see more and more interesting ideas and higher technical content. And higher technical innovation because these girls are capable of so much. The workforce of the future is one where humans are working alongside machines. So we really need to understand and constantly reevaluate our skills and creativity, bringing core values to innovation,” she added.

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