If you are a woman interested in tech entrepreneurship, then you need to clear your calendar for Aug. 25. Vets-in-Tech will be hosting its first women’s hackathon at the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, California. ViT’s founder, Katherine Webster, says ViT is “very excited to be honoring our women veteran entrepreneurs through this event dedicated to supporting their future tech endeavors.”
The day-long event will bring female veterans and advisors together to develop tech businesses and applications for multiple industries. At the beginning of the day, pre-selected “idea generators” will be given one minute to pitch an idea and then teams will be formed to work on the ideas most likely to be successful. In addition to the development of businesses and apps, a “Lean-In” session will be held at lunch led by Facebook’s diversity recruiting group. There is no confirmation of Sheryl Sandberg’s attendance, but her office is down the hall and it is her book; so fingers crossed for all of the participants. After the Lean-In session, teams will continue work on their ideas before a dinner and presentations by Facebook mentors and venture-capital panelists.
If you are interested, but do not know how to code, do not worry, you should still attend. The teams will need assistance with all aspects of building the business/application idea into something people will want to buy. Even if you think Java is a coffee house, you can still bring other expertise to the team. Everyone involved will gain excellent experience and build a great network of like-minded veterans. You can read the full agenda and register here.
Vets-in-Tech, launched in July 2012, is doing great things for veterans interested in the tech industry. Its focus is on the three E’s of technology: entrepreneurship, education and employment. ViT has chapters in eight cities and is always looking for partners for expansion. In addition to hackathons, the organizations hosts VetCap, which provides veterans information about startup funding options.
For veterans considering employment or education in the tech industry, ViT also offers networking opportunities and advice from advisors working for some of the most well-known tech companies operating today. Though not a veteran herself, ViT-founder Webster has been a great supporter of veterans through founding ViT. I love to tell everyone veterans make great entrepreneurs and employees; however, I’m obviously biased, which is why I am always thrilled to meet civilians who have figured it out and are advocates for veterans. Webster and ViT are doing a great job of spreading the story of veterans’ success in the civilian world and I encourage anyone interested in the tech industry to get involved.
Joshua Holley was an enlisted Marine from 2002 to 2006. After his military service he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in accounting from the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University, respectively, and is currently a financial consultant with a Big Four accounting firm.