Less than two weeks before the 2021 WWDC, Apple has detailed the stories of three companies who attended the Apple Entrepreneur Camp and the apps they’ve created.
Each Apple Entrepreneur Camp brings a group of underrepresented people in tech together to learn and share their experience. The first camp in 2019 invited women in tech to participate, then another camp for Black founders and developers opened.
Apple has shared a few companies and developers that have succeeded thanks to the camps and their plans for the future. Each camp offers a hands-on technology lab, one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers, as well as mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders.
Matt Garrison, the creator of TuneBend, was one of the first members of the Entrepreneur Camp for Black founders and developers. He wanted to create a collaborative digital music experience for recording and selling music.
“I said, teach me to code, and I’ll build it myself,” says Garrison. “Just show me how it’s done. Because I think as an artist today when you’re faced with a challenge in technology you’ve got to break it and push it.”
Garrison’s passion for music, technology, and entrepreneurship lead to the creation of TuneBend. The collaborative app will enable musicians to jam together, record, and sell their music in a musical entrepreneur ecosystem.
Apple says TuneBend will launch later in 2021, but a preview version of the app will launch during WWDC. The preview version of the app will be called “Matt Garrison” and will have basic components of TuneBend to offer a sample of the final product.
Samantha John is the founder of Hopscotch, a code-learning app for kids. Her app enables kids to learn code and publish their work to a moderated community. John’s desire to code came at a much later stage in her life than men she knew, and she felt she needed to change that for the next generation.
“I wanted to make something for little me!” says John. “All my male coder friends had learned when they were kids, and it had not been something on my radar. I wanted to change that for the next generation.”
At the Entrepreneur Camp, John was able to work directly with Apple engineers. She said she was even able to troubleshoot an issue with web GL with the engineer who maintains it for Apple
Dora Palfi, Beatrice Ionascu, and Paula Dozsa are developers for imagiLabs. The company was founded out of necessity for a woman-focused corner of tech. The app combines coding, social networking, and a physical object called the imagiCharm to teach young girls to code.
“Studies have found that at the age of twelve, boys and girls share a similar interest in computer science,” says Dora Palfi, imagiLabs’s CEO and founder. “However by the age of fourteen this interest diverges, with interest rising to 47 percent for boys, but declining to 12 percent for girls. We believe this is due to a lack of relevant activities created with, and for girls. Our app and the imagiCharm can fill this gap.”
Apple says that each of these developers were able to benefit from participating in the Apple Entrepreneur Camp. The camp is designed for app-driven companies founded and led by developers from underrepresented backgrounds in the field. Initial cohorts included 100 women innovators and their teams from 42 countries, and Black founders and developers were added in 2021.
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