Norway, like many countries, faces the issue of seeing less women than men pursuing studies in technology fields. So to motivate girls to take a look at technology, an event in Norway brought together 800 young students as young as 14 to show off women in entrepreneurship and the things you can do with your life in the tech field. The event was put on by the University of Agder in Grimstad in collaboration with the confederation of Norwegian enterprise, who both see it in their best interests to get more women interested in technology.
Speaking at the event was a wide mix of people, from Sunniva Rose, who spoke about blogging in the digital space, to the Prime Minister of Norway who was wired in. Additionally Rajeev Lehar, member of the board of Equator Aircraft, that makes flying electric amphibious vehicles was on stage, as well as Hanna Aase, CEO of Wonderloop, an app we’ve covered in the past.
"To start as young as 14 is very rare, but it's without a doubt of great value to reach them early as the process of what to study and work on later in live. My wish is to be a role model for the young within technology in Norway,” Aase tells us.
She points out that her iPhone app, Wonderloop, doesn’t have millions of users yet, but it did have a strong launch in Norway, and is consumer focused, which is unlike the majority of Norwegian startups. Her app allows people to create 10 second video profiles of themselves, using the quick bite-sized chunks of Vine and Instagram videos for the purpose of making connections between people.
“It's a product that they young students at this event can relate too at least from a product perspective as they all have smartphones and is part of a digital generation. Putting away the heavier technical terms and what it actually takes to build an iPhone app and a company , there is much learning from the journey from drawings of the app to US launch that shows the steps and that it is possible.”
The dialog goes both ways. In addition to being able to encourage and mentor these students about entrepreneurship, Wonderloop can also get in touch better with the younger generation, and learn about needs to tailor their product better.
"I think Norway has every opportunity to become a role model country for girls in technology. We without a doubt have the resources, we just need put the right actions into place. The University of Agder's initiative is just the beginning I believe".
Providing role models and examples is one way to get more young people involved in technology and entrepreneurship, but what else can be done to shift the amount of women founders in our region? Let us know in the comments.