What is Innovateher?
Our vision is to make the tech sector more equitable, by increasing diversity across the spectrum and creating more inclusive workplaces.
We are a values-led social enterprise based in the North West. We specialise in education and coaching. We’re dedicated to our cause, which was born out of personal lived experiences of the Co-Founders.
We’re getting girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls.
Why do we exist?
Only 19% of the digital tech workforce in the UK is female, compared to 37% across all sectors. It’s proven that the gender gap costs the tech sector time and money, but it also contributes to the challenges we have sourcing talent and widens the digital skills gap.
Our exploration of diversity
Our journey began in 2013, as Liverpool Girl Geeks. We created a community of like-minded people in Liverpool who wanted to progress gender equality in tech. In the beginning we organised meet ups for adults, but we soon realised that we could make a real difference if we mobilised the community, so we began running educational programmes led by industry with the aim of helping minority groups progress.
In 2015 we launched our first educational programmes for teens. We recognised that we needed to work with girls as young as twelve to tackle the gender stereotypes that are so entrenched within women by the time they reach adulthood.
What we noticed within our first few cohorts of teen girls was the lack of background diversity.
Students that attended were from similar backgrounds, with supportive parents who may already work in tech (or a related field), from mostly white families, who could afford to bring their child to the sessions we were hosting in Liverpool City Centre each week.
Our Co-Founders are women who have both grown up in low income families and wanted to make sure that our programmes reached girls from different backgrounds. As two (relatively young!) white women, they were also acutely aware that we needed to work with a diverse set of industry mentors to ensure that we had a broad range of people of all ages, backgrounds and identities to inspire the students. This includes working with male role models too, as we don’t want to exclude anyone from our mission.
A turning point was at the Big Bang Fair in 2016, where we were exposed to hundreds of schools across the U.K. The students that attended were from different nationalities, ethic backgrounds and a multitude of faiths. We realised that to engage a truly diverse range of young people we had to remove all barriers to them accessing our programmes.
Shortly afterwards we rebranded as InnovateHer and took our educational programmes into schools. We prioritised working in disadvantaged areas across Liverpool and Manchester. Since then we have worked with girls from a broad range of backgrounds; including families who are asylum seekers, looked after children, girls in faith schools and girls who identify as non-binary, trans or queer.
We have a strong moral compass. We live by our values.
We believe in continuous learning and encourage those around us to explore and develop.
We’re friendly and empathetic. We love to network and we believe in the power of the collective voice.
We live and breathe our mission because we believe it’s the right thing to do. We’re enthusiastic and driven.
We’re self-starters and we love to be creative. We solve problems. We get stuff done.
We know that to be impactful it sometimes requires us to challenge the status quo. We empower others to do the same.
How do we create change?
We’re changing lives on an individual basis and also building a community network to support this work. We tackle the above problems through three strands of work:
Our aim is to inspire girls aged 13-16 to consider careers in STEM, through our innovative educational programmes, led by industry role models. We are training the next generation of innovators and inspiring them to pursue careers in tech. We run this programme in various formats for schools; it is now available online too.
Company partner network
We believe that it is important to create inclusive and more equitable workplaces for tomorrow’s generations to thrive within. Our partners directly support the work we are doing with the next generation.
Campaigning to create social change
We believe that representation and consistent campaigning is integral to our brand. It is hugely important for us to raise awareness of our mission nationally and create a community around the cause. As a community interest company, we exist to serve the community we’ve nurtured and created.
Our charity & accessibility partners
When you start to consider how to get more diverse people involved in tech, it becomes apparent that there are so many barriers for them. For instance, lack of access to technology and the internet has created huge digital divides during Covid-19. We’re passionate about working together with partners to address this.
We’ve created some long lasting partnerships with organisations to make our programmes more accessible for all. Some of these include:
North Coders – We’ve partnered with them for over 2 years to give bursary places to women that would not otherwise be able to afford a place on their bootcamp.
Princes Trust – A partnership that enables us to support young people aged 13-16 to access our online programme, by providing them with devices and dongles.
Chayn – A BAME led and female-founded organisation which supports women going through domestic abuse, we pledge to donate a percentage of all of our membership revenue to support their cause.
Want to talk to us about how to get involved?