Being in the tech field is extremely competitive, and when you factor in being a woman, there are limited opportunities to advance or even start pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams. It can be discouraging, but Apple saw this as a perfect moment to even the playing field. In a press release issued on November 26th titled “Apple launches app development program to support women entrepreneurs” (Apple), they introduced the new program to the world.
Over the years, many avenues have been available to women who can receive training but getting this opportunity from a tech giant such as Apple could tremendously change the landscape. Dubbed an “entrepreneur camp,” the program helps women who have app-driven businesses by training in a technology lab, as well as, providing ongoing mentorship. Beginning January 2019, Apple will begin its sessions based on the following criteria among applicants: “businesses must be female-founded, co-founded or led and have at least one woman on the development team – as well as a working app or prototype…” The sessions will be held in Cupertino, CA and will start with ten companies, but proceeding quarterly meetings will include twenty. The program lasts for two weeks, which will consist of extensive app education with an Apple Developer representative. It offers a congregating space for like-minded individuals who may have had the same kind of experiences while trying to enter into app developing. Like we have seen many times in history and also present day, women are attempting to own their identity within a male-dominated field. Networking among people who look like you can be more comforting, inviting freedom of thought and helping with the creative process. Too often when working with men, women can be intimidated or silenced so this allows for a productive space.
There are hundreds of thousands of apps available at the touch of a finger, but it’s disappointing that women develop only a small fraction of those apps. There are endless possibilities to create based on women’s needs and wants, but those have not been tapped into because of lack of diversity. Slowly stripping away the stigma of what an app developer should look like, will begin to see younger women and girls take interest earlier in their life. Starting from grade school into college is a crucial moment for how the scope of the tech sector will be. The press release will be highlighting some struggles within the industry and offering some insight regarding funding for women compared to men in 2017. A staggering $83.1 billion was allotted to men for app development while only $1.9 billion to women. With an Apple co-sign, this will help in the investment stages where women lack significant support.
Those who can take advantage of this stand a chance to create a much-needed shift within the app market, yes, apps can be fun and entertaining but think about the advancements that can be made in women’s mental health and other issues that are unique to the female experience. And if Apple needed any more evidence to begin the entrepreneur camp, “women-led tech startups delivered a 35 percent higher return on investment than tech startups led by men”. With Apple taking the initiative in this case, hopefully, it will start a chain reaction, and other companies will expand its demographic. Providing an opportunity to women who, otherwise, may have been overlooked is very inspiring for the future of tech.
Start the application process here.