Apple is launching a new program that will give female developers a boost when it comes to iOS apps. The company unveiled the new Entrepreneur Camp, a program that’s designed to help women through an intensive coding lab and additional specialized support in app development. The program will also offer mentorship. The women chosen will be brought to the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California where they will get a one-on-one session in coding, marketing, and other important areas that could help them successfully launch their own apps. The program will take two weeks.
According to Esther Hare, a senior director at Apple, women are underrepresented in the tech industry. Hare thinks that there’s a huge disparity in accessing funding and mentorship in the industry for new apps where men get the lion share compared to women. She concluded that indeed businesses need to start doing more to support women-led businesses in the tech industry now and in the future.
Companies that want to benefit from this program will need to meet a set of conditions. First, the companies must be founded, co-founded, or led by a woman. This may include transgender women too. The companies must also have at least one woman in their development team. In addition to this, the firms will need to show that they have a working app already or a prototype. Even if it’s an Android app without an iOS version, Apple will be open to take the application. Companies that have a feasible idea of adding new features to apps that are already available on the App Store are also invited to apply for the program.
Apple says that this is the first program of its kind that works directly with women developers to help them realize their full potential. The number of women in technology and the way they are treated has come under scrutiny in recent years. The #MeToo movement has, in fact, helped highlight a number of sexual harassment issues in big tech companies like Google. Tech companies have been trying to bring in more women by diversifying their workforce but the pace at which this has happened has been quite slow.
Apple itself has found it hard to increase the number of women in its operations. Its last diversity report showed very little improvement in the gender gap at the company. The report was released in 2017 and noted that only a third of Apple’s employees were women. In addition to this, female startup founders face more difficulty in accessing funding compared to their male counterparts. For instance, last year alone women got about $1.9 billion in startup funding while their male counterparts were able to rake in $831 billion.
However, women-owned enterprises are growing at a much faster rate in the US compared to the national average. Additionally, women-led startups in the US are delivering a 35% higher return on investment compared to those led by men. It does seem like women now have a much bigger role to play in the tech space.