IIE's WeTech Consortium Launches 2016 Afterschool Program

BANGALORE, February 8, 2016—Ninety talented middle and high schools girls were matched with mentors from Goldman Sachs and Qualcomm at a January 23rd event in Bangalore. Hosted by Goldman Sachs, the event kicks off the third year of the WeTech Afterschool Program, which has now connected 250 girls in India with mentors for technical and leadership training.

The Institute of International Education created the Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) consortium to help women and girls enter into and succeed in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) education and careers, as a core part of its commitment to empower women.

In India, WeTech offers students with unique opportunities to gain skills and knowledge in technology during secondary school to better prepare them to succeed in higher education and the job market. The mentors, who are leading technology professionals, will provide hands-on tech and business training over the next year.

The girls will work with their mentors for three months to design and build mobile apps to solve critical community problems as part of the global Technovation entrepreneurship competition. They will also visit tech companies, join in networking events and take part in face-to-face and web-based leadership development activities.

By taking part in WeTech, girls gain the technical skills needed for success in the digital age, as well as the soft skills necessary to succeed as future global leaders. Students learn to work in teams with diverse perspectives, take part in a design-thinking process, and present their business pitches to audiences of entrepreneurs and potential funders. All the girls report confidence, which will help them advance in school and eventually work settings.

The WeTech Afterschool Program has now supported nearly 50 teams of girls from government schools and private colleges in India to participate in a series of activities built around the Technovation competition, which challenges girls from across the world to build mobile apps that address specific problems in their communities. Several new schools across Bangalore have joined the program this year to expand opportunities to girls from more diverse backgrounds. With the new mentors for 2016, a total of 100 employees from WeTech partner companies Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm and Target have volunteered to mentor students as they develop their mobile applications.

Last year, two WeTech teams from Bangalore were selected as finalists and traveled to San Francisco, California to compete in the global pitch event June 2015. The “Pentachan” team of five girls, mentored by Goldman Sachs volunteers, won the award for best mobile app in the Middle School division. They received a $10,000 prize to formally launch their app, called “Sellixo,” which provides an online marketplace for users to buy and sell dry waste. The app incentivizes and encourages the proper disposal of waste by making it profitable for users. The mentoring received by girls through WeTech gave them unprecedented access to skills and opportunities, and opened the door to new paths in education and the business world that will help them throughout their lives.

"Goldman Sachs is proud to continue to partner with IIE to help foster the talent of high school girls for careers in technology. The continued development of these future leaders will help to fuel the technological and economic growth of India," said Krishna Sudarshan, co-head of Technology at Goldman Sachs in Bengaluru.

"We are proud to be part of the WeTech Afterschool Program in Bangalore, which exposes girls and women to STEM education and careers," said Susie Armstrong, senior vice president, Qualcomm Incorporated. "By providing them with mentors from the tech industry early on, our aim is to encourage them to pursue ICT jobs. Their contribution to this growing field is critical and diverse skills and perspectives are of the utmost importance as we embrace the next generation of scientists, inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs."

"We are grateful to Qualcomm and Goldman Sachs for joining with IIE to empower the next generation of women to be leaders in their fields and their communities," said IIE president Allan E. Goodman. "The WeTech Afterschool Program has succeeded in preparing these girls for technology careers, and the mentor support and exposure to real world training these foresighted companies provide are key drivers to that success."

This innovative program promotes ICT and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and expands opportunities for young women in India, and also builds the pipeline of women and girls entering technology studies and careers.

"The WeTech Afterschool Program was a great experience for me as it took me through a world of technology and business and made me realize the real inner talent that I have," said a 2015 program participant. Another student shared, "the most important things I learned were team work, hard work, and focus to achieve a certain goal…I learned a lot of things which I think will be helpful in daily life."

IIE has led numerous programs across the world that aim to increase access to education, particularly among marginalized communities. After decades of experience engaging schools, universities and governments to expand broad participation in educational opportunities, IIE launched the WeTech consortium in 2013 to bring in the private sector to efforts around fostering education access in the global communities where they work and in building a future talent pool in their industry.


About WeTech

The Institute of International Education (IIE) created WeTech to help women and girls enter into and succeed in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) education and careers, as a core part of its commitment to empower women. IIE joined with corporate partners who share this vision to launch WeTech at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. WeTech is led by IIE and its initiatives are carried out in India, Africa and the United States with a consortium that includes Goldman Sachs, Google and Qualcomm Incorporated as lead collaborators.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. Our international approach to education—diverse, borderless, impactful—is a proven way for governments and companies to invest in global talent and solidify overseas relationships. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide, including in New Delhi, and over 1,400 member institutions.

Through its Center for Women's Leadership Initiatives, IIE provides opportunities for women worldwide to participate in cutting-edge training, professional development and exchange programs and pursue higher education. Our programs help women to develop and join networks of peers, mentors and experts and serve as effective leaders in the public and private sectors around the world.

About Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

Goldman Sachs has been serving Indian clients since the early 1990s and established an onshore presence in India in December 2006 following a ten-year joint venture. Today, it serves leading corporate and institutional clients through corporate finance (investment banking), equity sales and trading, and fixed income securities businesses, as well as providing macro-economic and investment research. Goldman Sachs is also an active investor in India, deploying more than US$2.5 billion in capital since 2006. In addition, the firm's 6,000-person Bengaluru office provides critical support and service functions for Goldman Sachs around the world.

About Qualcomm Incorporated

Qualcomm Incorporated is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm’s licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm’s engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 30 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm's website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.