• Carolina MIlanesi

Apple Entrepreneur Camp: The Power of 100

Updated: Nov 13, 2019


Today marks the end of the first year of Apple Entrepreneur Camp, a camp that is specifically designed for companies founded and led by women focusing on apps. Apple explains that "the camp offers a hands-on technology lab, one-on-one-code level guidance from Apple experts and engineers as well as mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders." After the Camp is over, participants remain connected and continue to receive guidance through the network they create.


So far, Apple Entrepreneur Camp has welcomed 100 participants from 13 different countries. The next cohort is planned for January 28 to February 5, 2020, and applications will be accepted until November 15 at developer.apple.com/entrepreneur-camp.


State of Play


Tech recruiter HackerRank ran an online survey in the fall of 2018 to find that across more than 14,000 professional software developers, only 2,000 were women. Even though the number of female software developers is growing, women still face significant setbacks. Those who are over 35 are three-and-half times more likely to hold junior positions, despite being equally capable as their male peers, the survey states. In fact, the top five programming languages women say they're proficient in are Java, JavaScript, C, C++, and Python. Those also happen to be the languages companies value most in front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers.


Sisters Jhanvi and Ketaki Shriram, participants in the second cohort of Apple Entrepreneur Camp, really highlight possibly the biggest challenged faced by women not just as developers but as business leaders. They are the founders and creators of Krikey; a mobile augmented reality app aimed at creating a sense of empathy that helps people feel closer to nature. They thought that the Apple Entrepreneur Camp accepted women based on their potential, not based on the proof of who they were and what they knew.


Over and over, women in business and tech are asked to prove themselves while men are just given the benefit of the doubt. If you think I am too critical, take a look at the the level of funding women-led startups get compared to those lead by men.


The Multiplier Effect


While 100 participants do not seem like a big number, I think the impact these women will be able to have many ramifications.


First, I think of the impact on the content. And when I say content, I do not mean apps designed for women as part of the new "Femme tech" trend. I actually mean content/apps that appeals to both men and women but displays higher emotional intelligence, stronger ethics, and empathy. With the risk of stereotyping these are some of the attributes women are associated within the workplace together with better communication skills, stronger team spirit, and better productivity.


Second I consider the impact of these 100 women on women in their own company and female users of their apps. Role models are hard to come by, and seeing women in leading positions will encourage others to apply for the next round of the Apple Entrepreneur Camp but also seek support from leaders they know in their community or field.


Lastly, the continued dialogue and network will continue to foster ideas that will create more opportunities for other women to consider software development as a career.


Practical Wins


What I really appreciate about this initiative from Apple is that the Camp is a hands-on, real like, practical experience. As a woman, I often see networking events, guru sessions, and conferences that offer classes and one to many access to speakers who have great advice but do not work with you solving a real business problem. Nothing is more impactful than designing and bringing to market a product, and this is what Apple is focusing on.


There are many different initiatives across the large tech companies that are focusing on helping women find their path, rise up, and be treated equally when it comes to pay, career opportunity not because it is the right thing to do for diversity and inclusion but because it is the right thing to do for the business. Some attempts are purely about creating good marketing, others, like Apple's Entrepreneur Camp or Dell's Women Entrepreneur Network and Google's "I am remarkable" initiative are aimed at making a difference today, and I am all for driving change today!


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