The problem we are trying to solve:
I’m an avid participant and advocate for international hackathons. I believe hackathons are productive environments for making connections, collaboratively learning and diversifying tech-portfolios--all while enlisting the help of those around you. It was only as I started participating in international hackathons myself that I realized the true necessity for them in Armenia. While I was in high school, there were no organizations at the time hosting these creative, and innovative encounters --especially for young girls hoping to pierce the field. As a result, I decided to create my own organization and in January of 2021, founded "Girlopolis''.
In Armenia, women and girls make up a small part of the IT and business sectors, as well as hackathons are one of the favourite educational events for young people around the world that are rare thing in Armenia.
Especially, when for our hackathon we were looking for female entrepreneurs for being speakers, we hardly found a few. We want to teach and motivate them to build their start-ups and enter the business and IT fields.
The solution we are proposing:
We create a series of 3-day hackathons that gives girls new connections, knowledge, and encourage their start up ideas. Firstly, we educate girls and help them to build start-ups.
Secondly, we bring the culture of hackathons to Armenia. This will help girls aged between 15-35 years old, create their start-ups, expand their social circle, and get motivation from our successful speakers. But the most important thing, they will become the part of our Girlopolis community, "a citizen in our Girlopolis".
We will achieve the SDG Goal 05 in Armenia: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. More girls will be in the IT and business fields.
1) Recruited seven volunteers
2) Created social media accounts. Now we have about 700 likes on our Facebook page and about 535 followers on Instagram.
3) Created our brand.
4) Gave interviews about us. Now a lot of people know about Girlopolis. We told about Girlopolis on TV, radio, different famous web pages.
What success looks like for us:
When we will see the start-ups created during our hackathons, continue growing, that means we are succeeding. Also, seeing the number of girls joining our community, means we go in the right way.
Where we are are based:
Funding we are applying for:
$12,000 - $14,000 per year
How this funding will help us achieve our goals:
We will be able to organize our next hackathon.
How this funding will strengthen our group:
We will be able to get a new graphic designer by hiring him/her.
How we gain by being a Spark Fund partner:
We do appreciate networking a lot. We would like to have partners from all over the world.
How we would like to spend a grant through the Spark Fund:
Organize a hackathon including every region of Armenia. In our first offline hackathon, mainly our participants were from Yerevan and we won a small grant, that was the reason we could not fund participants' from regions for coming and staying in Yerevan. Now we want to organize a hackathon where we will be able to cover everything and everyone will be able to participate.
2) Give salaries. Now our team works as volunteers because we just started. However, we need an accountant and graphic designer. But for their work, we need to pay.
Our Annual Income:
Our Organization Structure:
We make decisions with our group. I am the director but always discuss the decisions with Lusine (content creator) and Ashkhen (PR & Communication Manager).
Everyone has equal rights, starting from volunteers to team members. Just, in the end, the decisions have to be accepted by me.
We are youth-led. I am 17 years old. I am a senior at high school. While our team members are students. Even with this progress, as one of the few females in technology in Armenia, I have seen the intersection between sexism and ageism.
Firstly, when people saw that I was young, the immediate assumption was that I could not do anything serious. On top of these assumptions, in the process of renting spaces for our hackathon, I have seen the shock on people’s faces when they see I am a woman and not a man.
It is generally looked down upon for women to lead organizations and my experience renting spaces is only one representation of that predominant belief. In creating my own organization within the technology field as a young woman, I am breaking all these stereotypes.