Apple’s new Entrepreneur Camp aims to support women in tech

Apple has launched a new programme which it hopes will help bring more women into the tech industry by supporting female entrepreneurs.

The new Entrepreneur Camp initiative sees female entrepreneurs and programmers attending two-week tutorial sessions at Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, California. Apple will cover the cost of travel and accommodation for up to three workers from each of the accepted companies.

These tech business camps will take place every three months from January 2010 and there are only 20 places on each course. To make things even tougher, Apple is only accepting app makers founded or led by a woman.

To qualify, the app maker must have at least one female programmer as part of its team.

The idea behind these women-only teaching sessions is to help Apple bring more women into the tech industry and help the company recruit more women into high-paying programming jobs. Apple’s senior director of world developer marketing Esther Hare explained that the camps were designed to keep women interested and immersed in programming and technology.

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In 2017, Apple had women in just 23% of its roles. That’s up from its previous report in 2014, which sat at 20%, but that’s not really such a sizeable improvement to shout about – especially when Apple pledged to diversify its workforce.

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Apple, along with many other tech companies, maintains that one reason why they hire so many men is that there really isn’t a huge pool of women applicants. This is, in part, due to a somewhat toxic environment that doesn’t foster acceptance of their talents, but also because there aren’t enough young women specialising in the STEM subjects needed to progress into these careers.

It’s not clear how much of an investment Apple has made into the programme beyond travel expenses, especially as it plans to use current employees to lead these sessions. However, it’s not the first company to offer up a scheme like this. Google also offers training for girls and women in tech, although it hasn’t been massively successful judging by the small growth in diversity at Google between 2014 and 2017 – 21% to 25% respectively.

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One question I do have regarding Apple’s approach to helping women in tech is its stipulation that attendees must have a company with at least one female programmer and be led or founded by a woman. This suggests Apple is really only dealing with women who are already in the tech industry, rather than those struggling to find a foothold in it.

Regardless, Apple is providing an important service to help women in tech get the support they need to help them achieve their best because, depressingly, it sadly that still doesn’t seem to be the norm.

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