DLI Update Spring 2020

2020 has been an extraordinary year for everyone, and the DLI team is no exception. The year started off routinely enough, but then activity around the world halted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. When we started  to regain our bearings, the DLI Executive Team decided to tackle the present challenge in the same way in which we believe every challenge facing society should be tackled: By giving girls and women the community, skills, support and mission to address the challenge themselves.

From this vision, the world’s first global #WomenVsCOVID19 event was born! On 24-26 April, DLI and its partners organized “Move It Forward for Women versus COVID19” as part of the #EUvsVirus hackathon, and in celebration of Girls in ICT Day 2020. As we learned from this experience, the future of our species, fellow creatures and planet is safe in the hands of our girls and women.  In the words of European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, our shared “solidarity, creativity and determination” will permit us to emerge together–stronger and better –from the current crisis. In the meantime, our profound love and sincerest wishes for continued health, hope and safety are with you, our dear DLI community!

The DLI Board are actively involved in outreach activities with partners and stakeholders around the world that promote ESTEAM* leadership by girls and women. Find out more about our outreach activities of early 2020 below, and please visit our calendar for events organised by DLI, many of which are still going forward, if with a slight delay, online.

*STEM powered by Entrepreneurship and Arts

22 January 2020 – Uber “Diversity & Inclusion in a Changing World of Work” Luncheon Roundtable (Brussels): Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined a 22 January luncheon roundtable in Brussels on “Diversity & Inclusion in a Changing World of Work,” hosted by Mr. Tony West, Chief Legal Officer, of Uber.

22 January 2020 – ESBA “New Brand. New Direction” Reception (Brussels): On 22 January in Brussels, Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director joined a reception for organisations and individuals interested in “helping entrepreneurs and promoting a culture of enterprise across Europe,” hosted by the European Small Business Alliance.

23 January 2020 – Women Political Leaders “Rejkjavik Index for Leadership” Breakfast (Davos): Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  was invited to a 23 January breakfast on the “Rejkjavik Index for Leadership,” which revealed that everyday beliefs and behaviours influence participation of women in boardrooms and differences in the wages between men and women. The event was hosted by Women Political Leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

27-28 January – W20 Saudi Arabia 2020 Launch (Riyadh): In the capacity of EU Delegation member, DLI Founding Director, Che Miller Van Dÿck  was invited to the 27-28 January inception and launch of the W20 Saudi Arabia 2020 meetings, taking place in Riyadh as part of the G20 Saudi Arabia 2020 process.

4 February – EIB Annual Board of Directors Seminar with Civil Society 2020 (Luxembourg): On 4 February, Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director, was invited to the European Investment Bank annual Board of Directors seminar with civil society 2020 in Luxembourg. The two themes for the meeting this year were “The European Green Deal and the EU Climate Bank: addressing the critical decade ahead” and “Supporting development through quality employment.”

5 February – Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Governing Board Meeting (Brussels): On 5 February, Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  joined the semi-annual meeting of the Governing Board of the European Commission’s Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, of which Van Dÿck has been a member since 2017.

11 February – Women in Science Day 2020 (Ghent, Belgium): Katja Legisa, DLI Entrepreneurship Director,  joined a panel on Climbing the Gender-Balance Ladder in STEM as part of the Women in Science Day 2020 celebrations organised by Be4Diversity and the Faculty of Bio-Science Engineering at Ghent University. DLI also hosted a stand showcasing #womeninSTEM work by DLI and the R&I PEERs Project.

17-18 February – Global Women’s Forum Dubai, We-Fi MENA Summit (Dubai, UAE): On 16-17 February in Dubai, UAE, Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  was invited to the Global Women’s Forum Dubai and We-Fi (Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative) MENA Summit, an initiative of the World Bank for advancing initiatives and policies that tackle finance and market obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs.

24-27 February – GSMA Mobile World Congress Women4Tech Summit (Barcelona): On 24-27 February, Che Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  was invited to attend the Ministerial Programme and speak at the Connected Women and Women4Tech events taking place as part of the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  These events were subsequently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

6 March – EuroNEXT Bell-ringing & Women in Finance Roundtable (Brussels): In celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, on 6 March in Brussels, the DLI Executive Team had planned to joined a Bell-ringing Ceremony at EuroNEXT stock exchange as guests of Bank of New York Mellon and the Association of Women in Finance. The ceremony was to be followed by a round table discussion on Women in Finance, but the entire event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

13-14 March – 64th Commission on the Status of Women – Beijing+25 (New York, New York): Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  planned to join the 13 March W20 engagement group side-event of the 64th Commission on the Status of Women – Beijing+25 and 14 March round-table hosted by the W20 Saudi Arabia 2020 Secretariat to the G20 2020 meetings. The CSW meetings were scaled down significantly and the G20 meeting took place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

23 March – SHERPA Stakeholder Board Meeting (Brussels): On 23 March in Brussels, Che Miller Van Dÿck, DLI Founding Director,  had planned to join the stakeholder board meeting of the SHERPA, an EU project exploring ethics in AI and big data, for which she is an advisor. The event took place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

23 April – Brussels Region Digital Strategy Launch (Brussels): On 23 April, the DLI Executive Team  joined the launch of the new Digital Strategy of the Brussels Region at the Google Atelier in Brussels.

Be sure to visit our Calendar and Outreach Activities page to keep up with DLI events and activities! You can also and sign up for the DLI Newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

World’s First #WomenVsCOVID19 Hackathon

On 24-26 April, as part of the #EUvsVirus event attracting 20,000 participants from around the world, the Digital Leadership Institute and its partners hosted the first-ever global #WomenVsCovid19 hackathon tackling the unique challenges facing girls and women from COVID19 .  With 160 participants, ranging from 16 to 70 years of age and representing over 25 countries, the three-day “Move It Forward” event brought together policy-makers and private sector actors to support teen and adult women in driving solutions to the address the coronavirus pandemic.

Move It Forward for #WomenVsCOVID19 participants enjoyed interventions from European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, Ms. Julie Linn Teigland, Global Director for Women Fast Forward at EY, Ms. Anna Falth of UN Women, Ms. Pirkko Mahlamäki from European Women’s Lobby, and Ms. Bernadette Gemmell of the European Institute for Gender Equality.  Miss Alai Miranda Blanco Lascurain, recipient of DLI’s 2019  European Digital Girl of the Year award, also inspired participants by sharing about her own 3D-printed invention supporting frontline healthworkers in Spain, vast majority of whom are women.

During the event, Move It Forward project teams also benefited from expert mentorship and digital skills trainings–including website development, smartphone app coding, and data visualization–in order to develop initiatives that tackle economic and social challenges impacting the world’s girls and women as a result of COVID19.

Top #WomenVsCOVID19 projects, recognised by a world class jury including Ms. Charlene Lambert from Women’s Entrepreneurship Platform, Ms. Wendy Diamond of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization, Ms. Jaya Jiwatram, of UN Women, Ms. Anne Ravanona of Global InvestHer, and Ms. Cheryl Miller Van Dÿck from DLI, were the following:

  1. All-Around Award:  WAVEA smartphone application tackling psychological abuse and delivering pan-European emergency-response for victims of violence against women and girls
  2. Innovation AwardExit Tales – An animated documentary of COVID19 stories from the perspective of migrant children
  3. Impact AwardArt Time with GrandmaAn inter-generational art-making project promoting women artists and connecting kids and elderly women in order to combat isolation during COVID19

DLI and partner Global InvestHer will support winning #WomenVsCOVID19 projects with incubation, mentorship, and training, and projects are also eligible for further support from the wider #EUvsVirus event that announced prizes for the top projects among over 1500 delivered.

Event partners also committed to supporting recognized projects and #MoveItForward events in other geographies. The first #MoveItForward for #WomenVsCOVID19 event was live-streamed on the DLI Facebook page, and links to the separate sessions may be found below.

Thank you to all of our amazing partners who made this event such a success!  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us to support future editions of #MoveItForward!

Move It Forward for Women vs. COVID19

The Digital Leadership Institute, Women’s Entrepreneurship Platform and their partners are proud to announce a Move It Forward – female digital starters event for Women versus COVID19taking place online on 24-26 April 2020 (all times CET, GMT+2), in support of the #EUvsVirus hackathon organised by the European Commission, and in celebration of Girls in ICT Day 2020!

Move It Forward female digital starters events are an initiative of inQube, DLI’s female digital accelerator, and are supported by top technology companies, non-profit organisations, and youth and women’s networks and communities. Their objective is to give teen and adult women* the skills to become digital entrepreneurs and leaders, and to support them in driving positive change in their communities and society-at-large.

Participants:  If you are a teen or adult woman* interested in building your tech and entrepreneurship skills while addressing challenges for Women during the COVID19 crisis, please sign up for this FREE event!

Coaches/Volunteers/Partners:  Please contact us if you would like to support this event. Opportunities exist for Move It Forward volunteers, interpreters, coaches, jury members, content and media partners, prize contributors and sponsors.

*Anyone who identifies as a woman


Draft Programme:
Day One – 24 April (Friday – All Times CET, GMT+2):
  • 11:30-12:30 – Orientation Webinar 2:  Orient Yourself for the Move It Forward Workshop Webinars
  • 12:30-15:00 – Workshop Webinar 1: Build & Launch Your WordPress Website in the Cloud with Amazon Web Services
  • 15:00-17:00 – Brainstorming, Project Ideation & Team Grouping
  • 17:00-18:00 – #EUvsVirus Opening Session

Day Two – 25 April (Saturday – All Times CET, GMT+2):

Day Three – 26 April (Sunday – All Times CET, GMT+2):

  • 09:00-09:30 – Check-in & Virtual Coffee
  • 09:30-12:00 – Workshop Webinar 3: Build a Smartphone App with MIT App Inventor for Android
  • 12:00-15:00 – Project Work with Coaches
  • 15:00-16:00 – Project Submissions to #EUvsVirus (optional)
  • 16:00-19:00 – Closing Session (open to the Public): Project Pitches for “Women versus COVID19”

  • 19:00-20:00 – Virtual Reception with #EUvsVirus
**Awards:  Prizes will be handed out for the top three projects presented at the Closing Session:
  • Overall Best: 6-month Virtual inQubation at DLI; 10 Hours one-to-one inQube Startup Coaching; and free access to Crowdfunding 100 online course ($197 value) care of event partner Global InvestHer
  • Most Impact: 4-month Virtual inQubation at DLI; 8 Hours one-to-one inQube Startup Coaching
  • Most Innovative: 4-month Virtual inQubation at DLI; 8 Hours one-to-one inQube Startup Coaching

Brussels Women Move It Forward

Winning Project and Judges - MIF Brussels 2016
ENAC: Best Overall Project & Jury – MIF Brussels 2016

On 23-24 January, forty young and adult women gathered at DLI’s inQube space in Brussels to develop websites and smartphone applications, and to launch their own enterprises to tackle cyberviolence and promote online safety for girls and women.  Participants of the first-ever Move It Forward Brussels female digital starter weekend — organised by DLI and subsidised by the Brussels Capital Region — came from across Brussels and around the world, to improve their tech skills and try their hand at entrepreneurship.

Move It Forward Participants Create First Smartphone App
Move It Forward Participants Create First Smartphone App

Move It Forward Team-building
Move It Forward Team-building

Says Bianca Debaets, Brussels Minister for Equal Opportunity and Digitalisation, and supporter of the Move It Forward initiative:  “When women take up an active role in the ICT and business worlds, they are stronger. And that should reduce cyberviolence against women too. In that way, Move It Forward serves a dual purpose: It makes more women entrepreneurs and it empowers them digitally.”  (Read a full press release about the Move It Forward event in Dutch here: Move It Forward Persbericht 2016.)

Worldclass Tech Partners - Tableau Software
Worldclass Tech Partners – Tableau Software

Attendees of Move It Forward Brussels, from 14 to 54 in age and representing upwards of twenty-two nationalities, dedicated an entire weekend to learning digital and entrepreneurial skills taught by DLI and its worldclass technology partners, including Tableau Software, Amazon Web Services, WordPress and AppInventor.  With the help of a dedicated and talented team of coaches, participants developed innovative projects that they presented to a jury on Sunday evening for top honors.  Jury-members included Ms. Maité Morren, Councilmember for Ixelles responsible for ICT, and representatives from European Schoolnet, Child Focus Belgium, DLI and AWS.

Ms. Ellen Van Den Berghe - Inspiring Young ICT Lady of the Year
Ms. Ellen Van Den Berghe –  Belgian Young ICT Lady of the Year

The two-day Move It Forward Brussels initiative kicked off on Saturday morning with a keynote presentation by Ms. Ellen Van den Berghe, 2015 Young ICT Lady of the Year in Belgium, and closed with an inspiring talk by Ms. Terry Reintke, Member of European Parliament who recently authored a report on Women and the Digital Society.

Awesome Team, Coaches & Partners
Awesome Move It Forward Team, Coaches & Partners

Top awards for the weekend were presented to ENAC, Detrolled and iCompassion-Ubuntu, each promoting a unique approach for addressing cyberviolence against girls and women.  All winning teams receive several months’ inQubation and startup coaching at DLI and free membership for one year on the Amazon Web Service platform. Each member of the Overall Best project team also received Amazon Fire tablets.  In addition, several follow-up workshops are already planned to allow inQube community members to further develop the digital and entrepreneurship skills they started learning at Move It Forward Brussels.

Move It Forward Women
Move It Forward Women

Organisations across Europe have expressed interest in organising Move It Forward events in their own cities, and future plans for the Brussels inQube community include taking on additional challenges faced by Europe’s girls and women, including immigration and asylum-seeking, health and nutrition, media portrayal, etc.  Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the Move It Forward initiative, to partner with DLI/inQube, and/or to organise a Move It Forward event in your city!

egalitedeschances logoBrussels Capital Region

Dedicated Team-members
Dedicated Team-members

The Jury
The Jury:  Child Focus, European Schoolnet & Amazon Web Services

Pitching Projects to Tackle Cyberviolence
Pitching Projects to Tackle Cyberviolence

Dedicated DLI Staff
Dedicated DLI Team

"Check out this exciting line-up!"
“Check out this exciting line-up!”

Brainstorming to Tackle Online Violence
Brainstorming to Tackle Online Violence