How 4 Feminists & STEMinists STRIVE TO CONNECT THEIR COMMUNITY | 04/11/2016

Hey everyone! I'm SO excited to share the story of the amazing girls behind a new app called Volunteerium. I was able to meet these lo...

Hey everyone! I'm SO excited to share the story of the amazing girls behind a new app called Volunteerium. I was able to meet these lovely ladies at the Startup Weekend even I attended (read about it here) and was so glad when they agreed to share the story of the creation of their app, coming soon. :) You can find them on twitter @volunteerium and on instagram @volunteerium.

Four young women from Byron identified a compelling problem in their small community. They discovered that people in their community did not interact with each other, offer each other assistance, or engage the elderly. In addition, they uncovered that most people look for connection and want to help each other. So, the young women determined to connect their community members by using technology. They formed a team, Feminists & STEMinists, entered the worldwide competition, Technovation, and started to work on their app idea. Technovation encourages young women to develop science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and entrepreneurship skills. The organization’s goal is to increase women’s participation in the technology field.

Last weekend, Feminists & STEMinists participated in the first youth-focused Startup Weekend in Rochester to investigate if its app idea was feasible. The goal of the event was to foster the next generation of Rochester’s entrepreneurs by inviting high school students to work on their business ideas. Twenty four students participated in the event, including the young women from Byron, Maddie Harris, Brenna Hartman, Maia Jorgensen and Taylor Kreitinger.

Many attendees shared their business ideas at the event. Participating students selected the top four business ideas which included the app idea shared by Feminists & STEMinists. At the hands-on entrepreneurship event, students worked with several mentors from the community to refine and present their business ideas, followed by questions and answers from the judges. Feminists & STEMinists won first place with its VolunTappr mobile app business idea. The judges liked the app idea because it aims to connect people in the community. Additionally, they appreciated the app functionalities, such as posting a need for a service, including care for elderly, tutoring, yard work and many more services. Volunteers in the community can access these posts, respond to them, and lend a hand.

When asked what she gained from this experience, Maddie Harris said that she and her team mates learned a lot about entrepreneurship. “Although our app is non-profit, we learned that the business can still earn revenue which we did not know before this weekend.”

In addition, the students expanded their knowledge about the different types of jobs available in the market. “A lot of us haven’t thought about entrepreneurship, jobs in coding, engineering or technology fields, but this event has really opened up our eyes to these jobs, and that we can do any of those jobs”, said Maia Jorgensen.

In the next few weeks, Feminists & STEMinists will be finishing its app and business plan to enter the regional competition, Appapalooza, on May 1, 2016 in Minneapolis.

It is a common misconception that small towns are closely connected. Our app, “Volunteerium,” will connect small communities, starting with our hometown of Byron, Minnesota. Community members will have the opportunity to post advertisements to the main page. Volunteers can access these advertisements and respond with their services. We believe this app will connect all types of people, from retirees to young students. It will provide a safe and comfortable environment to match a need with a service that a volunteer is willing to provide. Not many volunteer apps provide the personal, local environment our’s does. Volunteerium believes in the importance of connecting small communities. Connecting you to your community through voluteering!

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