Speechability win Conrad Spirit of Innovation Competition
Recently, two teams of students from St Aidan’s travelled to the USA to attend the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
Lilyan and Aeshlein make up team Speechability and have developed an app which connects people who have autism with employers. 70% of autistic adults in Australia are unemployed and their goal is to reduce this figure by providing an app that makes it easier for them to access work opportunities while also raising awareness about their value to the workforce. Last year, the girls were lucky enough to pitch their idea to the largest tech companies in the world, including Microsoft, Google and Facebook in Silicon Valley at the World Technovation Pitch; this year they won the Cyber-Technology and Security category of the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge.
The Conrad Challenge brings together a dynamic community of innovators and entrepreneurs driving a collaborative movement to develop extraordinary and viable solutions to benefit our world in one of five areas: Aerospace & Aviation, Cyber-Technology & Security, Energy & Environment, Health & Nutrition, and Smoke-Free World.
This annual competition challenges teams to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) innovation, as well as entrepreneurship, to create a more sustainable world for this and future generations.
Speechability had the opportunity to network with investors and policy makers as well as meet bright young adults from all over the world, who have spent months developing products and services to solve global problems.
Initiatives such as the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge are necessary and urgent. Statistics released in 2015 found fewer than one in 20 girls considered careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields—even though girls' academic results in these subjects were very similar to those of their male classmates. St Aidan’s has been committed to investing in STEM for many years. The shortage of students entering STEM related careers will have negative consequences for Australia’s future prosperity. Industry leaders appreciate the value of diversity and recognise that their workplaces lack the unique female perspective that can bring new creative ideas to technology development teams. St Aidan’s is strongly committed to supporting STEM and are incredibly proud of team Speechability.