Wilmington-based First State Fintech Lab (FSFL), a non-profit focused on growing Delaware’s financial technology industry, and TechGirlz, a Philadelphia-headquartered non-profit organization that helps young girls in exploring technology careers through free workshops, revealed a new project that could give more opportunities to female workers in a male-dominated information technology sector.
The partnership was formally announced during the second annual First State Fintech Forum, which was held at the Chase Center on December 11, 2019. Both nonprofits aim to create a Fintech-related curriculum and offer workshops that will motivate middle school girls in Delaware to explore career opportunities in the financial technology industry. TechGirlz will be employing a full-time professional to manage the Delaware program.
The first workshop is scheduled to be conducted within the first half of next year. There will be three additional workshops that will be held after the first one, with each being supported by on-site FSFL personnel.
The partnership with FSFL will offer TechGirlz with a foundation to further increase its presence in Delaware and expand its Fintech-focused workshop content. In addition to covering financial technology, the programs aim to provide lessons on robotics, gaming, digital design, and podcasting.
Meghan Wallace, FSFL co-founder, of the Fintech-specific workshops for young girls that will offer tech training and financial literacy education, stated:
“The program is envisioned to help fill the growing number of open Fintech jobs in Delaware by training the next generation of female technologists.
”By engaging early with young women and providing them with a path to rewarding careers in the fintech industry, we can build a more diverse financial technology ecosystem and provide greater access to opportunities.”
FSFL also revealed that it was teaming up with Wilmington’s First Founder’s Accelerator (FFA), the state’s startup boot camp that provides guidance and training to under-represented business owners.
Established by University of Delaware graduate Garry Johnson in 2018, the FFA reportedly graduated eight business owners from an extensive 12-week program last year, which paired them with mentors and offered training on how to run small companies.
Johnson, who developed the accelerator program to assist entrepreneurs in getting access to funding, has been busy networking with Fintech industry participants. Some of the mentors that Johnson worked with for his accelerator came from other closely-related projects and investment companies based in New York, including the Dorm Room Fund and First Round Capital and various investors in Silicon Valley’s Samsung NEXT.
Johnson says he aims to further increase his impact and contributions to the community. Many of the firms serving under-represented entrepreneurs in Delaware, including True Access Capital and Wilmington’s Stepping Stones Federal Credit Union are unable to gain access to quality technology tools and software, he claims.
“We want to challenge our entrepreneurs to develop solutions that help increase their impact. We really want to show the world what Delaware is all about.”