A Chat About The Future With a 13-Year-Old Entrepreneur
I have already written about some of the wonderful people I have met on LinkedIn and here is yet another example: I am absolutely delighted to share with you the inspiring chat I have had with Samriddhi — aka Simi — Singh, the young co-founder of GirlsCanCode.
Simi’s list of achievements is impressive in itself but even more when you know that she has already completed all this by the age of 13! Not only is she the co-founder of GirlsCanCode, but she is also a teacher at go tec!, the youngest ambassador at Swiss Cognitive, and an intern with the ‘Trust in Robots’ research at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
How did you become the co-founder of GirlsCanCode?
Well, my journey begins with Lego®. I love Lego® and, to this date, it has been a struggle for my mom and myself to find the next Lego® set that would suit me. I had soon had to set on the quest for a more challenging activity and that is when my mom introduced me to the world of block-based coding known as a scratch. My passion for coding all began immediately then and there.
After grasping the basics of coding, I did two nanodegrees on the Udacity platform which made me technically eligible to start working. Then I applied to become a freelancer on Upwork but I always got turned down because of my age. Around this time, I also realized that my coding journey was a little lonely and, even after constantly nagging my friends to start coding, that loneliness factor did not change. That is when I wanted to get more girls interested in coding… and, with awesome people, I started GirlsCanCode.
Who are the people who join GirlsCanCode and what is their main motivation?
There are the co-founders, volunteers, supporters, and the girls. And their motivations are different. For the volunteers and supporters, it is to create equality in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and for the girls, it is learning a new fun skill.
Why do you think many people have this idea that a career in tech or as an entrepreneur is not for girls or is more difficult for girls? Is it true? And if so, what do you think are the main obstacles?
There is a stigma that girls can only learn languages and medicine and can only cram things. But they are inherent problem solvers and awesome collaborators which are two skills needed for entrepreneurship.
You contribute to the “Trust In Robots” research at ETH Zürich, Switzerland — how do you see the future of the relationship between humans and robots?
The robots and algorithms have to learn human behaviour without introducing bias and humans have to learn that robots are not there to harm you but to help you. And in the future, humans, cyborgs, and robots will be living together.
What do you tell people who are afraid of AI?
I would not tell them, I would educate them about AI. And there are many platforms like Udemy, Udacity, and many more. That is why I co-founded GirlsCanCode so that they are not afraid of the new world.
What are the main requirements to become a successful entrepreneur?
A mission, a great team, and the ability to inspire others.
What are your projects for 2021?
We are going to focus on funding to transform our future visions into reality. We are also planning on expanding in more schools and creating new courses such as adult and teen labs and starting GirlsCanCode clubs in India and Nigeria.
What is it that you enjoy the most in life?
Having a purpose and waking up in the morning and having something to work that is satisfying is definitely the most enjoyable thing in my life!