The New Orleans Women in Technology (WIT) group, in conjunction with Get Online Nola, hosted a WordPress workshop over the weekend aimed at teaching small business owners how to build their own websites. The 18 participants stumbled upon a hack day, with a main focus on building and collaborating to end the day with a working product.
WIT founder Torrie Adams wants to bridge the gender gap in the tech field by getting more women to attend hackathons. When asked how to get more women to attend hackathons, Adams, replied, “It’s easy. Don’t tell them it’s a hackathon. If the goal is to learn new skills and work collaboratively on something important, then women will be interested. Unfortunately, there’s a cultural gap that goes with the gender gap, and the terminology is causing a barrier to entry. Fixing that will require toning down the ‘hack’ vocabulary at times, and educating women on what a hackathon is.”
The workshop, which was held on April 5th at the Propeller social entrepreneurship incubator, was host to participants with varying levels of experience and, ultimately, various levels of idea-to-website completion at the end of the day.
Participant Gina Montana, a self-described “not a computer person,” presented her website at the end of the workshop. “I started Friday night with nothing,” Montana said, “and now I have my domain name, I have hosting, and I’ve built my own website!”
“It’s no secret that New Orleans is a hub of entrepreneurship in the country,” explains Adams. “We are a tight-knit community of entrepreneurs and small businesses that loves and supports the little guy, and keeps our money local. But in the technology era, over 80% of consumers consult the Internet before they buy goods or services, and if your business isn’t online, you’re missing out on a large amount of business.”