Europe Recognises Top Girls and Women in Digital Fields

“We are girls! We are women! We are strong!” – European Commissioner Gabriel to winners of the 2019 European Ada Awards recognising top female digital talent in Europe

“Take all challenges as opportunities,” advised Ms. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, to a group of wide-eyed finalists at the sixth European Ada Awards ceremony organised on 16 October 2019 in Brussels as part of European Code Week and the WomenInTech.Brussels Women Code Festival. The Ada Awards, founded in 2012 by Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute, promote top girls and women in digital fields in Europe in an effort to increase their numbers, a long-term priority for Commissioner Gabriel that she will carry into her new mission as European Commissioner for Youth and Innovation starting next month.

Commissioner Gabriel officially opened this year’s celebration of the Ada Awards, affectionately named for Countess Ada Lovelace, the world’s first-ever computer programmer, with a message that technology is “a strategic tool for the empowerment of citizens—of women and of men—that we must continue to use to advance ourselves,” she said. The Commissioner counseled those present to spend less time on embellishments and to focus on taking action when a door is opened, saying she would both hold them to task, and committed to supporting them along the way. The Commissioner closed her message praising the hard work and talent demonstrated by the Ada Award finalists and winners, underscoring: “We are girls! We are women! We are strong!”

Following her remarks, Commissioner Gabriel and Ada Award partners from civil society and private sector recognised the 2019 European Ada Award-winners.

2019 European Digital Woman of the Year Award

The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Woman of the Year was presented by Ms. Kelly Dorekens, CRM Director at Deloitte Belgium, who shared that “diversity in a group matters as much as ability and brainpower,” adding that Deloitte “actively encourages women to embrace science, technology, engineering and math through selected partnerships and events, like the Ada Awards.”

Ms. Dee Saigal, United Kingdom – 2019 European Digital Woman of the Year
Ms. Dee Saigal is Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Erase All Kittens, an adventure game designed to give girls the confidence to code, whilst teaching digital and 21st century skills. Dee’s goal is for EAK is to transform the way children perceive coding and engineering, and empower millions of girls worldwide with transferable, digital skills. Dee shared that her biggest challenge so far, aside from being a woman in tech, has been fundraising for research and development. Her message to other women and girls is to not think tech is for boys or that it is “geeky.” “There are so many amazing careers in tech that are both interesting and challenging,” says Saigal. Now that Erase All Kittens has 150,000 players, her next step is to raise investment in order to be able to build more educational and gamified version to launch globally. Her team is raising £500,000, and are already at twenty percent of that goal.

2019 European Digital Girl of the Year Award

“10 Years and Under” Category:
The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Girl of the Year in the “10 Years and Under” category was presented by Ms. Afke Schaart, VP and Head of Europe, GSMA. Winner in this category was Tayra, from Bulgaria.

Tayra, from Bulgaria – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “10 Years and Under”
Tayra is ten years old and was born in Sofia. She loves coding, and most recently won a special prize at Softunjada Kids with her Scratch project “three bears fairytale,” using sign language for kids. Tayra says the projects she is most proud of are her webpage and her robots. In ten years, she hopes to be a programmer. Her message to other girls who are interested in tech is: “I believe that girls have a power, and the power of technology can change the world for the better, no matter who we are. It is never too late or too early to get involved in tech,” Tayra says.

“11-14 Years Old” Category:

The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Girl of the Year in the “11-14 Years Old” category was presented by Ms. Christine Marlet, Board Member, Global Wo.Man Hub. Marlet expressed her awe of the candidates saying “the Ada Awards grant the participants the perfect opportunity to enhance their digital dreams. It encourages them to take risks along the way in order to achieve their digital goals because they believe that their objectives are attainable.” She added: “Belief in yourself stems from belief in your role models.” Winner in this category was Selin, from Turkey.

Selin, from Turkey – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “11-14 Years Old”
Selin is thirteen years old and loves building robots, coding, animals and travelling. She wants to study robotics and eventually build a humanoid. Selin shared that she was inspired to build her robot dog when her childhood dog passed away. She said “I knew that blind people especially have a strong connection with their dogs. I wanted to help them out, and felt like this was a great way of doing that.” She spends her free time on the weekends working on and improving her robotic guide dog. Looking forward, Selin says “I am currently developing the second version of my dog, and this one will be able to sit, lay down, bark, and it will even do ‘heart eyes’ towards my mom. Currently it’s only programmed to understand English, but I’m hoping for it to learn Chinese soon!”

“15-17 Years Old” Category:
The 2019 European Ada Award for Digital Girl of the Year in the “15-17 Years Old” category was presented by Ms. Viola Pinzi from European Schoolnet. There were two winner in this category: Anne, from Belgium, and Alai-Miranda, from Spain.

Anne, from Belgium – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “15-17 Years Old”
Anne is a fifteen-year-old girl who created Clinicoders, an initiative to bring technology and programming to children in hospitals. One of the goals of this project is to encourage children to create solutions for permanently disabled children. Anne said her next steps for Clinicoders are to bring it to a hospital in Antwerp, as it is only currently in Ghent, Belgium. “My dad wants to help bring it to other countries as well. So we’ll see where it goes,” she said. Over time, Clinicoders has developed from an application for children into something for adults too. “We shared this application called ‘Mindstorms’ to adult hospital animators, and it has been a real success.” In terms of her own future, Anne plans on studying law, but definitely wants to continue engaging hospital patients with Clinicoders.

Alai-Miranda from Spain – 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year “15-17 Years Old”
Alai-Miranda’s passion for STEM began when she was seven years old, and it has yet to fade. Most recently, she was invited to speak at the Amazon Web Services Summit in Madrid to discuss her experience as a girl in technology. Alai-Miranda shared about a new project she has begun to work on called “EsVuela.” A combination of the Spanish words “escuela” (school) and “volar” (to fly), the project will educate children on how to fly and program drones. As far as where Alai-Mirand sees herself in ten years, she says: “Hopefully I will have graduated from MIT and will be working in technology at a company, or maybe I will have even started my own company at that point. I hope to be either in the U.S., or maybe in Europe, maybe even still in Spain – somewhere!” As for her experience at the Ada Awards, she said that she feels “inspired to continue talking about and learning technology.”

 

“Gender-Equality and Europe: Fit for the Digital Era?” Panel

The 2019 European Ada Awards ceremony was preceded by a high-level panel on “Gender Equality and Europe: Fit for the Digital Era,” moderated by Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, and including panelists Miss Manon Van Hoorebeke, 2014-2015 Ada Award-winner for European Digital Girl of the Year, Mr. Christian Veske, Stakeholder Relations Coordinator at the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Ms. Annick Breton Elias, Partner of Deloitte Luxembourg, and Ms. Afke Schaart, Vice President and Head of Europe at GSMA, a global trade association for the mobile industry.

Christian Veske kicked off the panel with a discussion of EIGE’s 2019 Gender Equality Index released this week, the factors contributing to Europe’s score of 67 out of 100, and the increasing importance of promoting gender balance in digital fields. “Women won’t achieve equality until there is digital equality,” agreed Schaart from the GSMA. “Right now, women hold less than twenty percent of jobs in the tech industry, which is why GSMA expanded our Tech4Girls program this year.”

 

At sixteen, Manon Van Hoorebeke shared that winning the Digital Girl of the Year award at eleven years old has played a significant role in guiding her life choices since then, and that she is now studying Physics at university. Van Hoorebeke also admitted that a lack of confidence with technology is a barrier to getting more young women into the field, and even despite her accomplishements, that she sometimes faces self-doubt. Elias concurred that this patter appears in professional contexts as well for which reason, she said, Deloitte works to identfy high-potential women in digital fields and starts conversations with them on leadership. “Because it is often unlikely that women will initiate these discussions themselves,” she said.

 

Formal welcome for the 2019 European Ada Awards Ceremony was provided by Ms. Loubna Azhgoud, COO of Women in Business and WomenInTech.Brussels @1819 Hub, and by Ms. Audrey Scozzaro Ferrazzi, Senior European Policy Manager at Google. Azhgoud congratulated Ada Award finalists and highlighted the event in the context of the third-annual Women Code Festival organised by the Brussels Region, which succeeded this year in reaching 2300 participants, eighty percent female, to encourage them into digital fields. Scozzaro Ferrazzi also welcomed guests with a rousing speech expressing her awe and admiration for gathered laurates who, like her, are pursuing digital fields.

Following the ceremony, WomenInTech.Brussels provided a lovely reception for the finalists and winners of the 2019 European Ada Awards and all their friends, families and supporters.

Congratulations to the 2019 European Ada Award winners, finalists and nominees for their amazing leadership in digital fields across Europe!

Thank you to our Ada Awards sponsors and supporters!

You can find more pictures from the 2019 European Ada Awards ceremony here.

Move It Forward Leiden for Women’s Health

In collaboration with Women’s Business Initiative International, Webster University Leiden Campus and Women Entrepreneurship Platform, on 10-11 November 2018 in Leiden, the Netherlands, the Digital Leadership Institute organized a Move It Forward – female digital starters event. This event was supported by top technology companies, non-profit organisations, and youth and women’s networks and communities, and was an official activity of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day 2018, being celebrated on 19 November all around the world. The event’s objective is to give teen and adult women* the skills to become digital entrepreneurs and leaders, and to support them in driving positive change in their communities.
 

*Anyone who identifies as a woman


Move It Forward Leiden –  Programme:
Day One – 10 November (Saturday) :
  • 8:00-8:30 – Registration & Coffee
  • 8:30-10:30 – Opening Plenary:
  • Welcome
  • 10:30-12:30 – Workshop 1: Build & Launch your Online Presence in the Cloud with WordPress & AWS with Katja Legisa / DLI
  • 12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch Break
  • 13:30 -15:30 – Workshop 2: Develop a Smartphone App with MIT AppInventor for Android with Loredana Bucseneau / DLI
  • 15:30-18:00 – Brainstorming, Proposals, Idea Selection, Team Grouping and Project Work
  • 18:00-19:00 – Dinner
  • 19:00-22:00 – Project Work with Coaches

Day Two – 11 november (Sunday) :

  • 8:00-8:30 – Coffee and Danishes
  • 8:30-10:30 – Workshop 3: Google advertising and analytics / with Carina van Seling, Google
  • 10:30-12:30 – Project Work with Coaches
  • 12:30-13:30 – Lunch Break
  • 13:30-14:00 – Project Work with Coaches
  • 14.00-14.30 – Intoduction to successful pitching, Mr. Ron Lameij / Eisenfelt Academy
  • 14.30-16.00 – Project Work with Coaches
  • 16:00-17:00 – Presentation Preparation
  • 17:00-19:00 – Closing Plenary: Project Presentations and Judging, Awards
  • ++18:30 – Keynote Presentation of Ms. Snezana Zivcevska-Stalpers / IBM
  • 19:00-22:00 – Awards Dinner, Networking



Filmmaking Startup Event for Women

In celebration of Startup Europe Week 2017, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners Creative District and others, are proud to announce the third FREE Move It Forward – female digital starters weekend bringing together teenage and adult women* from the greater Brussels region to develop digital projects promoting women in media. This initiative, part of the DLI inQube female digital accelerator, is supported by top technology companies, media organisations, and youth and women’s networks and communities. Its objective is to give beginner girls and women the skills to drive positive change and enable them to become digital entrepreneurs and leaders.

Participants:  If you are a teen or adult woman* interested in building your tech and entrepreneurship skills to promote better and more portrayal of girls and women in media, with a focus on film-making and story-telling, please “Apply To Attend” for this FREE event!  Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis and all effort will be made to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate.

For important logistical information about the event, please also see below.


Draft Programme:
Day One – 11 February (Saturday):

  • 8:00-8:30 – Registration & Coffee
  • 8:30-10:30 – Opening Plenary: Inspiring talks by Move It Forward Partners
  • Welcome & Keynote Presentations:
  • 10:30-12:30 – Workshop 1: Smartphone App Development for Android with Ms. Rosanna Kurrer, MIT Master Trainer / DLI
  • 12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch Break
  • 13:30-15:30 – Workshop 2: Build Your Online Presence with Squarespace with Maria Alfonso, Development Manager at DLI, and Oscar Rodicio, Mudita Communications
  • 15:30-18:00 – Brainstorming, Proposals, Idea Selection, Team Grouping & Project Work
  • 18:00-19:00 – Dinner
  • 19:00-22:00 – Project Work with Coaches

Day Two – 12 February (Sunday):

  • 8:00-8:30 – Coffee & Danishes
  • 8:30-10:30 – Workshop 3: Story-telling with Virtual Reality with Fabien Bénétou
  • 10:30-12:30 – Workshop 4: Launch Your Project in the Cloud with Ms. Madalina Lazar & Ms. Christine Gerpheide / Amazon Web Services
  • 12:30-13:30 – Lunch Break
  • 13:30-16:00 – Project Work with Coaches
  • 16:00-17:00 – Presentation Preparation
  • 17:00-19:00 – Closing Plenary: Project Presentations & Judging
Awards:
Prizes will be handed out for the top three projects presented on Sunday afternoon:
  • Overall Best: 6-month inQubation at DLI; 10 Hours one-to-one inQube Startup Coaching; Other TBC
  • Most Business Potential: 4-month inQubation at DLI; 8 Hours one-to-one inQube Startup Coaching; Other TBC
  • Most Innovative: 4-month inQubation at DLI; 8 Hours one-to-one inQube Startup Coaching; Other TBC

Coaches:  Move It Forward femaledigital starter weekends are supported by a worldclass team of coaches who generously give their time and expertise to help participants deliver awesome projects and enterprises. Please contact us if you would like to support our event as a coach.

Speakers, Judges & Coaches:

Ms. Julie Compagnon:  Ms. Compagnon is a Belgian artist heard for the first time on The Voice – Season One. She continues to make her way as a chronicler for the same television channel that discovered her without abandoning her dream of music. Julie is currently preparing her very first album: Between candor and power, humor and generosity.

Ms. Ségolène Martin: Ms. Martin is the cofounder and Managing Partner of Kantify, a technology startup enabling retailers to transform their data into value thanks to Artificial Intelligence. Ségolène manages the Business Development and Marketing of Kantify’s activities. Before Kantify, Ségolène cofounded Meetsies, a collaborative economy platform on social dining (1500 users and 3 cities in 8 months), and held several management positions in the fields of innovation, digital transformation and business development.

 

Ms. Marine Haverland:  Active in the audio-visual sector since 2008, and after a period with Versus production, in 2012 Marine Haverland found Aura Films, a platform for developing an producing new media projects.   Marine also organized conferences and education in the transmedia filed and co-founded Liège Web Fest, the first Belgian festival dedicated to  transmedia, web-series et Virtual Reality. Marine is presently in charge of new media, gaming and virtual reality for the screen.brussels cluster.

Ms. Ioana Matei: Ms. Matei is Executive Film Producer at Reality+ Film, a movie director and writer, and she currently working on the production Joanne.  She is also Virtual Reality Solutions Delivery Leader at Procter&Gamble and leader of Diversity and Inclusion for the IT Function in Europe.  Ms. Matei has a 13-year trackrecord with P&G with eleven years in Business Intelligence that includes hands-on analysis work, deployment of BI IT solutions globally, and design and re-transformation of BI services. Ms. Matei is passionate about coaching and mentoring with focus on woman in IT, and actively promotes creativity in the workplace by using movie and story-telling techniques.
 
Ms. Claudia Ritter:  Ms. Ritter has 25 years experience in senior management and business consulting. Her career has encompassed EU affairs, journalism, strategic communications, and organisational development. Her work with European media broadcasts, as well as in leadership positions at the European Commission and in other international organisations, gives her a strong understanding of international relations and strategic thinking.
 
 
Mr. Fabien Bénétou: Mr. Bénétou is a passionate virtual reality developer whose vision for VR is to allow us to better explore our thoughts and express creativity.  Fabien produces professional VR content, and regularly organizes workshops to share the power of this medium with people of all backgrounds.
 Mr. Geoffroy Verney-Carron is an experienced strategy, digital and project management professional, and a highly entrepreneurial individual who has worked in corporate and startup environments. Mr. Verney-Carron believes in building trust and its value over time. Looking for opportunities to help organizations run their activity like a startup, collaborate, innovate, take ownership and be agile.
Mr. Óscar Rodicio is a foreign-language enthusiast and has acquired experience in different fields such as translation, event management, communication, teaching, interpretation and PR, both as an employee and as volunteer. He is currently working on MuditaComm, a startup idea that aims at providing language and digital marketing services to SME’s and organisations.

 

Childcare We proudly work with Bsit to provide childcare for participants with children up to ten years of age, on an as-needed basis.  If you wish to take advantage of this service, please kindly indicate that in the application form.

Languages:  Workshops and inspirational talks will be given in the language of choice of the speaker with interpretation in other languages, as needed.  If you would like to support this event as an interpretor, kindly join the event as “Volunteer/Event Partner” or contact us.

Laptops: Participants will need a laptop to be able to fully benefit from this event. If you do not have access to a laptop please let us know to reserve one for you. We have a limited number available and are grateful for participants who can bring extra/s to share with others. Please let us know if you can support the event in this way.

Supporters:  Please see a list of our Move It Forward partners and sponsors below, and kindly contact us if you would like more information on how to support this event, or join us as a “Volunteer/Event Partner”. Opportunities exist for Move It Forward volunteers, interpreters, coaches, jury members, content and media partners, prize contributors and sponsors.

If there is any other way we can facilitate your participation in this event, please do not hesitate to let us know!

*anyone who identifies as a woman

Refugee Women Move It Forward

As part of Code Week Europe 2016, on 15-16 October in Brussels, sixty teen and adult women–ranging in age from 15 to 55 and representing upwards of twenty-five nationalities–gathered at the Digital Leadership Institute’s inQube space for a Move It Forward “female digital starters” weekend. Through expert support and hands-on workshops on web development, app coding, the cloud and CRM, participants built and launched their own enterprises in support of women refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.

Ms. Anna Zobnina, Chair of the European Network of Migrant Women, who gave a keynote and took part in the event, shared the following: “When extremism and poverty attack women forcing them to flee their home, we should attack extremism and poverty by empowering refugee women to rebuild their dignified lives. And if we want to win, we have to be strategic and use the digital technology to fight violence and discrimination that women on the move face at every step of their journeys.”

Attendees of the Move It Forward event, twenty-five percent of whom were refugee women from across Europe, enjoyed an entire weekend dedicated to learning digital and entrepreneurial skills taught by DLI and its world-class technology partners, including Amazon Web Services, Onboard CRM and MIT AppInventor for Android.

On the final day of the event, the most innovative projects were selected for further incubation at inQube, and recognized later in the week at a European Parliament event hosted by KAGIDER, the Turkish women’s entrepreneurship association.  Recognized projects included:

Ms. Sanem Oktar, KAGIDER President said: “As the largest women’s entrepreneurship network in Turkey, KAGIDER is thrilled to ‘Move It Forward’ for female digital starters. We share the vision of economically empowering women to drive positive change in the world, and of enabling them to use technology to do that. We are therefore excited to showcase the successes of Move It Forward Brussels 2016 and to build on this with Move It Forward Istanbul in 2017.

The first Move It Forward weekend took place in January 2016 with support of the Brussels Capital Region. Four of the final projects received expert support from DLI for a period of five months, and several projects are continuing today. To build on its success in Brussels, DLI and its partners are now launching Move It Forward in other cities around the globe.

The two-day Move It Forward event is a flagship of the inQube female digital accelerator, a DLI initiative whose mission is to redress under-representation of women in tech startup.

Event Sponsors and Partners