According to the Women’s Engineering Society, only 9 percent of engineers are female, and the first step to changing that is putting technology in the hands of girls and getting them excited about it. At Dell, we are focused on increasing young people’s access to technology to prepare them for success in a 21st century, digital world.
To help nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of young girls, Dell has partnered with Seventeen Magazine again this year to host a contest for girls age 12 – 16 to write about a business they would launch in the STEM field that could change the world.
The submission with the most passion, reasoning behind the answer and ability to articulate the response was offered a trip to attend the Girls Track at the 7th Annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit in Cape Town, South Africa. Girls Track is centered on promoting and supporting STEM skills and entrepreneurship in girls ages 12-16. By connecting Girls Track participants with delegates and speakers from DWEN, they are exposed to mentorship and guidance that will largely influence their entrepreneurial journeys.
Dell and Seventeen were so inspired by the hundreds of applicants and the ambition, drive and entrepreneurial spirit coming from Gen Z. There were many strong candidates, but Nihita Sarma’s business idea of a wristwatch that enhances the lives of Alzheimer’s patients rendered her a clear frontrunner amongst an impressive field of young entrepreneurs. Nihita found a leading issue for Alzheimer’s patients to be their tendency to wander off. Thus, making it challenging for caretakers to keep track of their patients at all times or feel comfortable giving them the space they long for. Through the use of GPS technology, her watch could give patients the liberty to be more independent, and lead a more normal lifestyle, preventing the progression of brain deterioration.
Nihita is eager to attend DWEN to expand her entrepreneurial skills, develop her knowledge of technology, make friends to collaborate on ideas with and spend time with Mikaila Ulmer of Mikaila and the Bees at DWEN. Nihita advises other young entrepreneurs to start by identifying what they love, and then think of ways to improve it. Nihita’s knowledge, and genuine determination to improve the lives of others is impressive and inspiring.
Additionally, Dell and Seventeen selected five finalists who met the contest criteria and are working on, or have the ambition to start, businesses that promote using technology for good. The finalists were all given Dell XPS Gold laptops to help launch and run their business. The business ideas and girls selected as finalists include:
- Energybusters by Dhvani Bhatia: Vampire energy, or energy wasted by power-consuming devices while a device is off, is a growing problem in the USA. Energybusters aims to develop an adapter that users can plug into their device to stop the energy flow when the device is fully charged or off. With this device, Energybusters hopes to decrease the country’s energy bill by millions of dollars.
- DateSense by Julia Gong: Julia hopes to establish DateSense, a technology company manufacturing sensors that detect the presence of date-rape drugs, namely Ketamine, GHB and Rohypnol in drinks. She plans to embed these sensors into discreet personal items, such as rings, watches or necklaces. The sensor would then send a personalized message to the user’s phone when these date rape drugs are detected. Julia hopes that her company would offer an affordable way to increase individual’s safety and peace-of-mind while attending social gatherings, as well as adding another avenue of prevention for the all-too-common date rape that occurs in our modern society.
- Superself by Julianne Lefelhocz: As video games increase in popularity, the integration of the virtual world with reality becomes more relevant to daily life. Julianne’s app, SuperSelf, aims to turn physical therapy into a superhero game for children. It encourages children to complete their exercises at home. With increased participation, children will be less susceptible to re-injury, arthritis, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and even cancer. SuperSelf has the potential to greatly improve many individual’s health, simply by changing the way people think about physical therapy.
- Eshika Saxena: Eshika hopes to produce a hand-held device that provides instant verification of the quality and safety of food and drinks before consumption. The device will connect to a smartphone and use machine learning and smart sensor technology to make near-infrared spectrometry’s food quality assessment capabilities affordable and available for daily use by consumers.
- Mandy Gang: Patients often waste money by redoing tests they have already been given. This occurs by the simple mistake of a patient or hospital not having an updated record of their medical history. Mandy aspires to develop a system that would allow patients to easily transport their medical records and avoid the hassle of filling out forms at hospitals.
To join the conversation going at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit in Cape Town next week, follow @DellInnovators and #DWEN. We welcome you to share your ideas for STEM-related businesses, powered by technology, below!