NC Startup Smart Girls HQ Wants to Set Up Girls for STEM Success

NC Startup Smart Girls HQ Wants to Set Up Girls for STEM Success

NC startup Smart Girls HQ wants to close the gender gap in STEM. But they know that change won’t happen overnight. That’s why they are working to foster a strong foundation for STEM exposure.

Smart Girls HQ was founded in 2018 by Abi Olukeye. They currently focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) educational products for girls aged three to 12.

nc startup STEM image of girl
Image courtesy of Anthony Shkraba from Pexels.

We make it easier for parents, educators and companies to facilitate effective STEM learning along K to 12 learning paths. We have a particular focus on gender-inclusive solutions that support closing the gender gap for females in the STEM pipeline.”

Abi Olukeye, Founder of Smart Girls HQ

For Interest in STEM: the Younger, the Better

Experts believe the best way to close the gender gap in STEM is by exposing girls to these topics in a fun way when they are young. The reasoning suggests that if we don’t introduce people to science and math until, say, college, then that intro could come too late. After all, if you spent 18 years thinking math and science were boring and hard, then a program in college likely won’t make a major impact on your worldview.

But what if you can convince kids that science and engineering are fun? Then you’ve got a real shot at sustaining that interest over their lifetimes.

This NC STEM startup is betting that the best way to support girls is to support their moms.

Many educational companies have gotten the memo that, when introducing children to STEM, younger is better. What makes Smart Girl HQ unique, however, is its focus on supporting parents.

Image courtesy of Alex Green from Pexels.

The startup’s online platform, Raising Smart Girls, hosts content aimed at helping parents explore STEM with their kids. Their website explains that they designed this page for moms “because of the key role [moms] play in making decisions about which topics their children learn, and which career paths they later follow. Also, given women’s low participation in STEM careers, many moms are unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable with STEM subjects.”

This strategy seems particularly useful in light of COVID-19. Now that more education happens at home, it’s critical that parents have the tools they need to make STEM engaging for their kids.

nc startup STEM female instructor
Image courtesy of Jeswin Thomas from Pexels.

Smart Girls HQ Expanded Their At-Home Offerings with New Interactive Kit

Last month, Smart Girls HQ released an interactive STEM kit. It has an electrical-engineering theme, and its content introduces kids to making circuits. The branding is clearly made to appeal to girls, and to make the project fun and engaging. The kit can be used independently by older children, or else used with the help of a parent for younger ones.

Of course, no one company or product can fix the gender or diversity gaps in STEM. Still, every effort helps. Smart Girls HQ, thanks to their mission and progress in 2020, definitely makes the group a key NC startup to watch.

Curious about other up-and-comers in North Carolina? You can try our guide to telehealth startups, or even our outlook for startups during COVID-19!