150 girls. 25 sponsors. $5000 in prizes. 12 hours. 1 hackathon.
This past weekend, my team and I at Women in Technology Society hosted the second iteration of SheHacks — Western University’s first all-women’s hackathon. On March 25th, 2018, we welcomed girls across Ontario to experiment with technology in a supportive environment with workshops, mentors, and prizes.
I’m SO proud to say that the event was a resounding success. On the corporate side, we received overwhelming support from sponsors like Scotiabank, stdlib, Coinsquare, Deloitte Digital, Palantir and more, dwarfing our original sponsorship goal by over 450%. On the student side, we sold out of our expected capacity of 80 people within two hours of product launch. Subsequently, we doubled capacity to 150 — but that still wasn’t enough. We ended up with over 400 people on our waitlist, over 45k people reached on our Facebook campaign, and a viral event that quickly rose to become a household name.
Clearly, there is so much demand for an event like this. Of the 150 attendees, over 90% had never attended a hackathon before and over 77% came from non-technical backgrounds. But at the end of the day, we received over 33 project submissions in complex topics like blockchain, web dev, python, api integrations. An impressive accomplishment for first-time hackers working with a 12h time limit.
Out of the few things in life that you can call your own, I can sincerely say that SheHacks is my baby. This is an event that I founded with Selin Acar, my WITS Co-President last year and a genuine friend of mine. The inaugural SheHacks kicked off with 3 sponsors, 60 hackers, $1000 in funding, and a (memorable, exhausting) single day of planning.
SheHacks has become the face of a revolution. Although I barely slept for a few weeks and got recurring nightmares about writing emails, heading this event has been the most rewarding experience in my life.
To me, SheHacks is an opportunity to share the joy of technology with young women.
To you, I hope SheHacks showcases the hidden talent of girls who just needed a little push to bring it out.