Grace Hopper Award: Motivation for girls seeking careers in ICT
“Women who work in technology need to make numerous loud announcements to tell as many girls as possible that the future is in technology and that, if they like this field, they should take bold steps to achieve this goal,” stated Daji Liparteliani, founder of ehotelspace.com, a successful technology start-up.
Daji, a 29-year-old lawyer by profession, eventually became interested in technology and she decided to develop an online platform that would help hotels create their own websites and digitize their sales. Launching a start-up has been far from easy: the completion of ehotelspace.com coincided with the beginning of the pandemic. “The hotel business, a potential user of the platform, was particularly affected at the time,” explains Daji, “and we too found ourselves in a difficult situation. But my team and I did not lose our enthusiasm. We continued to work, and today we already serve more than 150 hotels. With the help of our online platform, our hotel clients digitally generate sales themselves, thus saving on marketing costs.”
Daji Liparteliani, alongside her start-up, was a distinguished nominee of the 2021 Grace Hopper Award, which was founded last year by the USAID Economic Security Program in partnership with UN Women and TBC Bank, a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles. The initiative was created to represent people, organizations and projects that are taking active steps to empower women in technology. Additionally, a special award was established for the competition by UN Women, and Daji Liparteliani became its very first recipient last year.
UN Women awarded the young entrepreneur with the opportunity to join the Silicon Valley-based US Market Access Center and its Acceleration Program, with additional enrolment in an intensive training course. Daji has just completed the practical and theoretical training. During which, she attended lectures from experts in the field and received advice from leaders of prominent international companies and from investors within the world’s most innovative technological ecosystem, Silicon Valley.
“We in Georgia are not very often given an opportunity to hear experiences directly from Silicon Valley field trainers,” Daji says. “During those meetings, we went through step-by-step, detailed techniques for improving a start-up’s performance and presenting it to investors. Those were the most important days for my start-up.”
Together with the training, Daji shared this freshly gained knowledge with her team and started working on interesting novelties for the development of her start-up. Now she also wants to inspire others with her own success story: “We, the women in technology today, should become role models for other girls. I want my work and this award that I’ve received to fuel their motivation too.”
UN Women continues to support the Grace Hopper Award. The latest nominations have recently closed, and the winners will be announced in June. After granting a special award to Daji’s fledgling start-up last year, this time around UN Women will award one business company for its gender equality initiatives and present the winner with a media coverage package.
Increasing the involvement of women and girls in information and communications technology, including support for the Grace Hopper Award, is one part of the UN Women “Good Governance for Gender Equality in Georgia” project and is funded by the Government of Norway.