Fifteen-year-old Cailin is working on a mobile app designed to help first-generation college students get into college – and stay in college.
Cathryn, a 16-year-old from California, would like to market a mirror that doubles as a dry eraser board – so hand-written messages of self-love can help turn the mirror into a positive experience for people. I love this idea!
And Madison, 15-years-old, is excited about furthering her business plans for a monthly STEAM kit designed for girls, with materials focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math.
Like any teen, at times these girls can be unsure of themselves – and their ideas. But a few weeks ago, in the presence of 150 adult woman entrepreneurs, I watched each of these girls shine at Dell’s annual Girls Track – a part of the 2017 Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) Summit that took place July 17-18 in San Francisco, California.
This year, Girls Track hosted 22 girls from Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, France, and the United States to brainstorm on many big ideas, ranging from mobile apps to a children’s book to help kids deal with cyberbullying.
For eight years, the DWEN annual summit has brought together a vibrant community of like-minded women business owners and mentors in one room at one time—for the opportunity to learn, network, and share experiences.
While the adult professionals at DWEN gathered together to talk about their businesses and to network, budding entrepreneurs ages 12 to 18 did the same—but in ways tailored to these young ladies. The DWEN Girls Track, which takes place alongside the summit, is designed to give young girls from around the world the skills they need to put their entrepreneurial ideas into action.
Girls Track 2017 included nine skill-building sessions. For example, Cailin and her co-attendees learned about structuring a business pitch and coding their own websites.
At the end of the conference, two teams of girls were selected to pitch their business ideas in front of the entire DWEN delegation. It was impressive to see how two days of skill-building – around public speaking, business planning, and more – empowered these young ladies to give successful pitches we’ll all remember!
Overall, this event is designed to equip these participants with the tools and confidence they need to accept the challenges that come with following their dreams, and to be successful – on their own terms.
As a mom of a teen myself, I know that is a powerful message for a young girl.
As DWEN aims to connect female entrepreneurs with networks, sources of capital, knowledge and technology, the Girls Track is investing in girls so that their path to entrepreneurship can be a guided one. Dell also incorporates technology skills, like web design, into the Girls Track programming. Having had the special opportunity of managing Girls Track for the past two years, I believe (and have seen) that what we teach girls at Girls Track—and how—is very impactful.
Here is how two of our young attendees described their experience:
Cailin, age 15, Beijing
“I learned I do have the courage to do the things I didn’t think I could. Girls Track has helped me be more confident with being on stage and as a person.
I think my time at Girls Track definitely will help with my business, like learning how to be financially smart and organize how our business will gain profit… and also how to communicate and pitch how our business will benefit these students’ lives.
My favorite memory from Girls Track would be seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when all of the groups have presented their business pitch. Everyone in Girls Track was supportive of each other’s achievements.”
Cathryn, age 16, California
“Girl’s Track taught me if you really want to succeed it’s important that you work with others. Having a partner to support you along the way is really important in a world of business.
I am pretty lucky; I got to participate in a speaking competition that helped me develop my public speaking skills and learn to work in the business world.
I got to meet a lot of different women at this conference. Their stories were so inspirational; like at the first social event that we went to I got to meet a journalist from France… her story of how she got where she did was really inspiring. I think hearing stories like that can really help young girls to become the best women they can be.”
And I love what Madison said in the video we created to highlight the event: “I can take all my passions and all the things I’m talented at and push it toward my future.”
Be brave and push ahead, girls. We’re excited to see what each of you does next!
Learn more about the eighth annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit in San Francisco, California where we announced the results of our 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities).
This article shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. We call this our Legacy of Good.
Explore our FY17 Annual update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at legacyodgood.dell.com.