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Empower women and girls in tech from Accra, Manila, Odessa and Sao Paulo

How can we empower women in tech globally to close the gender digital divide? 

Logo GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Logo Impact Hub Berlin
Logo german cooperation – DEUTSCHE ZUSAMMENARBEIT.
Logo Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development


Philippines (Manila), Ukraine (Odessa), Brazil (Sao Paulo), Germany (Berlin), Ghana (Accra)



  • we ran local workshops in Manila, Odessa, Sao Paulo and Accra to connect and enable female leaders running ventures that empower women. After a pitch session the two most promising ventures were selected from each location
  • Eight teams were invited to a one-week hackathon and pitch event in Berlin
  • The winning teams presented on stage at the G20 Summit; with Chancellor Angela Merkel in attendance

Challenges women in tech face are universal

During the local workshops across four continents we wanted to understand the barriers and potential of women and girls in tech. The insights were surprising: each young female leader working in tech faces very similar challenges.

Barriers – what prevents women and girls from participating in tech, as users, content creators, employees, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders?

  • Stereotypes, culture doesn’t see women in tech roles
  • Social inequality, violence and disrespect
  • Poor educational systems, lack of ambitions & confidence
  • Lack of information, lack of access to funding, lack of role models

Potentials – What are the potentials of digital technologies for women and girls in our country?

  • Break boundaries and give access to knowledge and information; include marginalized groups
  • Leverage entrepreneurship and empower female Womanpreneurs
  • Portray more female techies as role models
  • Increase diversity and inclusion at the workplace


Uniting forces to show

To foster local innovation and to support initiatives that empower women and girls in tech, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Google and Impact Hub Berlin organised a hackathon to develop solutions that address the gender digital divide. The challenge started with local exploration workshops that took place on 4 different continents in 4 different cities (Accra, Manila, Odessa and Sao Paulo) in March 2017. Around 50 young female leaders  were gathered to discuss how women and girls can be actively supported to overcome the barriers in the digital world. After a local pitch event the most promising ventures were selected by a local jury. Four finalists were invited to Berlin where they took part in a hackathon. The winning teams presented on stage at the G20 Germany Summit 2017 and managed to score a selfie with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Every team received 6 months of mentoring to further improve their business and skills. They all became role models of women who empower women and girls in tech.


Local solutions are already making a global impact

Eight powerful initiatives from four continents rocked our world big time! While everyone is still in the process of realizing the devastating gender gap in tech, these young female leaders are already making a difference. With their work they fight for inclusion, confidence and becoming role models to inspire other women and girls to follow. Check out what they’re doing:


Empower Marta, Sao Paulo – Empowerment of older women in tech in order to socially include them
InfoPretaSao Paulo – A project founded by transgenders to empower black women in computer skills and tech
Chasopys Share4Scale, Odessa – Coworking space, and community to raise awareness, break stereotypes between women and men in their job opportunities. Through education and mentorship, women get empowered to dare to lean in and become role models for other women.
It2School,  Odessa – Tech education for girls to empower them to feel confident in a digital society
Jeepneed Tiny Labs, Manila – Encourage curiosity. Providing schools with hands-on science activity labs in order to get kids off the screens, encourage creativity and new innovative ideas which change the world
Aurelia & Amelia, Manila – An accessory-retailer that offers multi-style and multi-purpose fashion accessories using an online platform through which they seek improving market positions and incomes of female entrepreneurs
<Developers in Vogue/>, Accra – Building a community of highly skilled female developers who are passionate about using technology to revolutionize Africa and beyond. Training and mentorship in software development, data science and real time projects
DiFEP, Accra – Empowerment of women to get access to tech careers. Hands on training and assistance in getting certifications and internships in digital marketing


At the G20 Summit

When the magnitude of a project hits you: All eight teams managed to squeeze onto a selfie with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel 🙂

Smiling participants of eSkills4Girls project gathering around Angela Merkel.

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Digital Imagination Challenge – Innovation Contest to Foster Inclusion

How can we empower tech solutions that reduce barriers for people with disability?


Logo unitymedia
Logo Impact Hub Berlin
Logo Sozialhelden




  • Outreach
  • Screening Germany for technological solutions that foster inclusion in all areas of everyday life
  • Selecting top five initiatives and offering them a tailored curriculum, mentorship and network access in a short accelerator format
  • Public pitch event with a renowned jury to position the importance of an inclusive society

How can we impact the life of millions of people?

Rapid technological development and digitalization have revolutionized our society and offer unprecedented opportunities and innovations that can change the lives of millions. Together with Unitymedia and Sozialhelden we looked for innovative ideas and solutions that use technology to break down barriers and enable inclusion at home, at work and in the leisure space.


#nobullshittech: when tech really makes a difference

Copy paste tech solutions, like food delivery, are neat because they make life convenient. But they are not revolutionary and often do not think the needs of people with disability alongside. We scouted 23 initiatives and ventures that created tech solutions that break down barriers and make society more inclusive. From AR to indoor navigation; every solution will change the life of millions of people.


Truly inclusive pitch event

Each of the five ventures that went through the program blew our mind, touched our hearts and inspired us to the bone. They shared their solutions with the public at a fully inclusive final pitch event in front of 100+ people with sign language translation and audio description in place.

1st prize: EiS-App, won 15.000 EUR, 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership

2nd prize: Deaf Magazine, won 5.000 EUR, 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership

3rd prize: Match My Maker, won 3 months mentoring and Impact Hub Berlin Membership



  • 2 days bootcamp on lean canvas, impact logic and pitching
  • 8 weeks coaching, focus on business model and pitching storyline and skills
  • Access to the networks of Unitymedia, Impact Hub Berlin and Sozialhelden
  • Peer to Peer support facilitation
  • Mentoring by Unitymedia’s top tier management



  • 23 applications
  • 5 winning teams going through the acceleration program
  • 3 winners to be further supported with mentoring and network access
  • 2 winning teams sharing prize money of 20.000 EUR


Impact (& SDGs):

  • SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
  • 5 Teams were supported for 8 weeks to make sense of their business and tell their stories
  • the three winners were supported for further 3 months with mentoring and network access

>> Want to know more or host your own program with us?  Get in touch!