TORONTO, Dec. 12, 2017 /CNW/ -- Hackergal today announced that on December 13, 2017, girls from grades 6 to 9 at over 90 public and private schools across the country will take part in the Hackergal Hackathon to help bridge the gender gap in tech. With more than 2,900 girls across the country set to participate, this year's Hackathon will be a record-breaking event.
Hackergal, a not-for-profit organization, introduces young girls to coding through hackathon experiences. With women vastly underrepresented in tech sectors all over the world, Hackergal strives to inspire a new wave of Canadian female coders to bring equality to this booming industry.
"We set the objective to make Hackergal the largest organized hackathon in Canadian history," notes Ray Sharma, Founder of Hackergal (as well as CEO of Extreme Venture Partners). "The response from middle schools has been overwhelming and as of today, we've exceeded all previous records by nearly 100 per cent from an attendance perspective."
According to Sharma, Hackergal seeks to empower middle school girls to consider coding without fear or reservation. "But how can a girl know if she even likes coding or has a talent for it if she's never tried it? We're introducing middle school girls to coding in a fun, cool way, so that they have the knowledge and experience to select the right curriculum in high school if they choose."
Principals and educators from past Hackergal programs say that they can see tangible differences in girls' self-confidence and skills after the program. "It is exciting to be a part of the Hackergal movement," said Garth Chalmers, Vice Principal, University of Toronto Schools. "Hackergal is so much more than a hackathon. It is a tool to inspire young girls. To encourage them to think bigger — out-of-the-box. It is about problem-solving and pushing through challenges as a team. Hackergal is empowering girls one hackathon at a time and my hope is that the movement continues to grow and thrive in the months and years to come."
It's estimated that while there will be over 1.4 million jobs in computing that will need to be filled by 2020, women are currently on track to hold only 3 per cent of those jobs. Yet it is widely accepted that excellence in the STEM fields is table-stakes for any economy. Hackergal is on a mission to change that ratio and empower young girls to seek a future in technology by introducing them to coding in the classroom, well before starting their high school careers.
"Hackergal is working to inspire and train a new wave of Canadian female coders in every industry, and we are doing that in a fun and positive way," said Lucy Ho, Co-founder and Managing Director of Hackergal. "No matter which industry captures a girl's imagination, coding will give her an advantage to help realize her dreams."
"We may have broken records with this first hackathon but I'm most excited to see Hackergal take the program national — reaching girls all across Canada," continued Ho.
Hackergal Capital Campaign
The December 13th Hackergal Hackathon is just the first step to taking Hackergal national.
"We are launching our national capital campaign on December 13th with the goal to raise $3M over the next 18 months," said Matoula Mitropoulos, Managing Director of Partnerships for Hackergal. "We want to see Hackergal's reach extend from coast to coast, giving every middle school girl in Canada the opportunity to participate in our hackathons and camps."
Hackergal has joined forces with industry leaders across Canada to make this Hackergal Hackathon a reality. Sponsors from both the public and private sector are contributing funds but also serving as role models — not just talking the talk but walking the walk when it comes to empowering women technology leaders in the workforce.
Sponsors for the Hackergal Hackathon include, Barrick Gold Corporation (Platinum), Communications Security Establishment (Gold), Shaw Communications Inc. (Silver), Scott Lamacraft, CEO, Cormark Securities (Silver), Paradigm Capital Inc. (Bronze), CIBC (Bronze), and honourary partners: Extreme Venture Partners and Fasken Martineau. Codesters has also partnered with Hackergal to provide the coding platform for the Hackathon.
"As Hackergal scales to reach middle school girls nationally, we will be announcing some exciting new University partners in 2018 building on our already successful relationship with the University of Toronto. The University of Toronto hosted our beta Hackergal camp in 2017," commented Mitropoulos.
About Extreme Venture Partners
Extreme Venture Partners (EVP). EVP is an early stage investment fund, startup development lab (Extreme Innovation) and global-to-Canada accelerator (Extreme Accelerator) that invites diversity as the spark of brilliance and innovation, quietly launching some of the Canada's most interesting startups. EVP has developed a comprehensive startup ecosystem, as well as a not-for-profit organization (Hackergal) dedicated to addressing the gender imbalance in coding.
For more information about Hackergal Day, December 13, 2017, visit: www.hackergal.org
Hackergal is a not-for-profit organization that is the organizer of the largest hackathon in Canadian history. Hackergal was founded with the mission to introduce middle-school girls to coding through its Hackathon program. The goal is to create a movement of girls coding — ultimately closing the gender gap in technology and computer science — by sparking an interest at an early age. Hackergal is presently regionally-focused but seeder schools have been recruited to help our national roll-out in 2018.