GSMA Inspires Schoolgirls to Consider Careers in Technology

London Pupils Learn How to Perfect Their Start-Up Pitch at Girls in ICT Day Event

London: The GSMA today hosted a class of east London schoolgirls as they learned how to launch a start-up business to celebrate Girls in ICT Day1, the ITU’s annual global initiative to encourage young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in school and inspire young women to consider careers in ICT. With the GSMA, a class of Year 8 (12-13 year-old) schoolgirls from The Bridge Academy2 in Hackney visited Wayra, Telefónica’s start-up accelerator, to gain hands-on experience and insights from a range of inspirational technology leaders and innovators including:

  • Melinda Nicci, CEO and Founder of Baby2Body, which provides tailored advice for nearly and new mums to stay happy, healthy and look good
  • Vana Koutsomitis, runner-up of BBC1’s The Apprentice in 2015 and Founder of DatePlay, a mobile app that combines online dating with gaming
  • Louise Easterbrook, Chief Financial Officer, GSMA
  • Amanda Smith, Account Manager at Open Data Institute, which connects and inspires people around the world to innovate with data
  • Henry Ludlam, CEO of TeamFirst, a fundraising platform for university societies and sports teams

Each speaker shared their personal success stories, highlighted the diverse benefits of working in the technology sector, and offered ideas on how young women can get involved in ICT while still at school.

“We are delighted to work with the GSMA to mark this year’s Girls in ICT Day,” said Chris Brown, Principal, The Bridge Academy. “The key aim for The Bridge Academy is to give our students the tools to thrive and succeed, both at school and in their future professional lives. The mobile industry and wider technology sector certainly offer them a wealth of exciting options for rewarding and challenging careers.”

“According to the European Commission, women account for just 18 per cent of ICT specialists in Europe3, so there is clearly much more to be done to bridge the gender gap and encourage more women to choose a career in technology,” said Louise Easterbrook, Chief Financial Officer, GSMA. “Mobile is becoming increasingly entrenched in our everyday lives, fundamentally changing the way that we do business, make purchases, listen to music, access social media, watch videos, and so much more. We want to highlight the many exciting career opportunities available for women in the mobile industry through today’s event.”

The schoolgirls tested their business and technical skills through a number of interactive activities at Wayra, including:

  • Learning how to set up their own start-up business from Marina Atarova, Chief Marketing Officer of Dreamstake, an online platform for tech start-ups in London;
  • Improving their communication skills with body language training for pitch presentations from Emma Zangs, Public Speaking Consultant and Coach at Metaspeech;
  • Pitching their start-up ideas to the panel of industry speakers, Dragons’ Den style; and
  • Learning to code by editing videos of their pitch presentations.

The GSMA’s Connected Women programme is focused on accelerating digital and financial inclusion for women, as well as promoting opportunities for women as employees and leaders in the mobile industry. Successfully addressing the gender gaps in these areas can unlock significant commercial and socio-economic opportunities, benefitting women, business and society. To learn more about the Connected Women programme, visit


Notes to Editors
1 For more information about Girls in ICT Day, visit
2 The Bridge Academy is in Hackney, one of the most deprived communities in London. 67 per cent of the students are eligible for Pupil Premium (Free School Meals) and 75 per cent of the Sixth Form would be first in their family to go to university. The Bridge is supported by global financial institution UBS. The purpose of the UBS/Bridge Academy partnership is to ensure that all Bridge students have the qualifications, employability skills, confidence and aspirations they need to excel in the world of work and higher education. Last year, over 700 UBS employees volunteered at The Bridge Academy.

About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Media Contacts:
For the GSMA
Sophie Waterfield
+44 7779 459 923

GSMA Press Office