Alumni Talk – Women deserve an equal say in how our world will look

04 May 2021

European Social Innovation Competition alumnus Dora Palfi, a finalist in the 2018 Competition with the imagiLabs project, writes about her motivation in entering the Competition, her experience of participating, and her project’s progress since then.

If technology is the future, then people driving innovation in tech are essentially the ones shaping the future. Women, deserve an equal say in what our world is going to look like. However, today, women make up less than 20% of the tech workforce. 

This is why I started imagiLabs, which was developed during the 2018 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition. Today, imagiLabs is a company with seven employees, and an app, which introduces Python programming in a fun and creative way. The app has been downloaded in over 70 countries, and our community has created over 10,000 coding projects. We also have a manufactured hardware product on the market, the imagiCharm, with sales in over 30 countries. The imagiCharm is a smart accessory that brings the coding projects created in our app into the real world. 

We have come a long way since being selected as a finalist for the competition in 2018. Back then, my co-founder Beatrice and I didn’t even have a registered organisation. We just had a 3D printed prototype, a few sketches of how we envisioned our app would look, and a whole lot of passion for our mission of equipping and empowering girls to create with technology. As two founders coming from science and engineering backgrounds fresh out of university, we didn’t have a lot of experience with developing communications materials, budget proposals or go-to-market strategies. Writing our development plan for the competition felt similar to taking on a new subject, except everything we learnt we started to apply right away to our project proposal.

Most importantly, what the European Social Innovation Competition helped us with was setting up a framework for planning and measuring our impact. Such as the ins and outs of the Theory of Change model and about proving return on investment in both financial and impact terms. To me, one of the biggest challenges in entrepreneurship is staying focused and motivated as challenges and distractions arise. But, as a social entrepreneur I think I have an advantage here. I embarked on this journey motivated by the change I want to create and, along the way, I learnt different ways of creating and measuring impact. 

We didn’t win a financial prize in 2018. Nevertheless, the competition focused our vision and encouraged us to develop an actionable short-term plan that led to our successful Kickstarter campaign and other financing opportunities in the following months. We also created a long-term narrative and vision that is still instrumental to our work today.

Author: Dora Palfi
Project: imagiLabs