When a girl contemplates working in the tech field, she may instantly become discouraged.  It is an industry that is notoriously male dominated and one that is stereotypically geeky.  A girl may not realize the tech industry’s vastness.  She may not realize that the same industry that makes advanced computer software could also develop a trendy fashion app.  weVENTURE and Collegiate Pathways are aiming to redefine those misconceptions.

Laine Powell is the Founder and Executive Director of Collegiate Pathways, Inc., a college prep program that works with students to improve their standardized testing skills and provide scholarship and career opportunities.

It is through Collegiate Pathways that the Tech Sassy Girlz were born, a program that exposes 6th through 12th grade girls to the STEM field.

On Friday, July 17, the Tech Sassy’preneur Camp was held at Canvs.  At the camp, the Tech Sassy Girlz were mentored by professional women presently working within the STEM field.

Mentors were:  Melissa Kuchma, Founder of Revolution Medicine; Angela Alban, President and CEO of SIMETRI, Inc.; Tomeka Bell, President of Validity Solutions; Jovanna Nelson, Co-Founder and Event Manager of Good2Go; Event Management, Inc.; and Suneera Madhani, CEO and Founder of Fattmerchant.

After breaking out into small groups and developing business ideas, the event hosted a pitch competition.  Pitches ranged from a scholarship matching app to a bug repellent.

The prize for the best pitch went to #onfleek, an online fashion service.  Mentored by Alban, the girls received a $15 gift card each and the chance to enter Bright House Networks’ Bright Ideas in STEM competition.

The community outreach for the event was outstanding.  People from Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Tech Association, weVENTURE, Move2Create and Canvs all worked together to support and promote the Tech Sassy Girlz and their phenomenal work.

It is truly heartwarming to see how much success can stem from combined effort.  That is what is so great about Canvs.  It is an environment that lives off of that same fruitful collaborative spirit.  Canvs is once again fulfilling its mission “to make it easier for anyone [no matter what age] in Orlando to start and grow a company.”  Let’s face it synergy’s the best type of energy!


Monique Mahabir is an aspiring writer/journalist.  Winning a high school writing competition sponsored by Powers and Ristorcelli Content Agency, she was given the opportunity to cover the Tech Sassy’preneur Camp for Orlando Tech Association’s blog and Canvs newsletter. Monique is a junior at Boone High School/

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