Meet Team Pandicorn: a group of four girls ages 15-16 that I mentored for the Technovation Challenge entrepreneurship and technology competition. They each brought a different element to their project and I had the great honor to see them improve their leadership skills, working as a group, and seeing improvement in their English by the end of the program. They showed up every week on time and eager to learn and push through all the challenges they faced.
(I had shared in the previous blog post about the Technovation Challenge program and the exciting news that the girls had made it to the semi-final round. Read more here >> “Celebrations & Lessons Learned from Technovation Challenge“)
These girls are incredibly creative as they created the logo, videos, and came up with the app design in addition to all the other pieces they needed to submit their project. The name of their app is Smart-Ed which is an app that “connects people for honest learning”.
As part of this world-wide competition, the theme for this year was to identify a community issue and come up with a solution by creating a phone app and business plan. They created the pitch video below to share their idea. They came across some obstacles with filming their video and they figured out a solution, all on their own. I was very impressed.
An issue they identified in their community was that in some cases more emphasis is placed on some students paying to get better grades than actually focusing on learning the material and earning it. Their idea was to create an app that would be a platform where students (or anyone really) could find a “learning coach” in their community to help them with their studies or to learn something new, like cultural handicrafts. They would connect through the app and then setup a day/time to meet in person and the “learning coach” would make a little extra income through meeting with different students and helping with different subjects.
I asked them to share with me how they felt after they found out about making it to the semi-final round…
“After we found out that we were in the semi-finals I felt great because we stayed up until 3 am (the time they announced the results) and waited… and after we found out that we were in the semi-finals, we started to send each other “funny faces” and we were like “Oh, I can’t believe” grin emoticon… which is hard to explain.” – Olga
“I felt good and very proud of the team and also, very thankful to our mentor.” – Catalina
I asked them to share a fun or funny story from their experience with Technovation Challenge…
“I think the funniest part was when we had to film our pitch video and we spent about 7-9 hours for doing that because we laughed a lot. Like A LOT!!! (grin emoticon)” – Catalina
“The funniest story is when Alexandra and I stayed up late to find out what the results were. So we did everything to help one another to not fall asleep. Another funny story was when we all tried to film the pitch video because we spent 9 hours trying to film it and the result is a 4 min video, so that’s just insane. (grin emoticon)” – Olga
They have expressed interest in continuing to create this phone app to make it a reality here in their community. I am looking forward to seeing what happens.
As for the latest news about the finals, we found out this past weekend that the girls did not make it to the final round. They have made such an incredible accomplishment by making it to the semi-finals which has added a boost for them to continue to work on this business-app idea to make it a reality. I am so proud of them.
Congratulations, Team Pandicorn! Well done, you have taught me so much and are such an encouragement to me as a Peace Corps volunteer, thank you! (grin emoticon) [click!] 😉
A side note, to answer a common question: So… what is a pandicorn?
It is a panda bear and unicorn together of course!