The winners of this year’s “Best in Show” award at AWE EU 2023 were a favorite for many at the event, with five inspiring young girls demonstrating how through a mix of creativity and technology, they are hoping to change the world for the better. The session, which featured Marta Teivane, Tereze Bogdane, Amelia Stys, Najda Musta, and Natalia Stys, with moderator Richard Zreik, took a no-nonsense dive into the world of XR.
Brought to us by Women in Immersive Tech Europe (WIIT), and IVG.World (IVG), which empowers girls and non-binary individuals from age 11 onward and guides them on their immersive journey into Web 3.0 and the metaverse, the panel wasn't your typical tech talk—it was a firsthand account from five young women making real strides in a field that's ripe for revolution.
The journey of these young girls in the XR space is a testament to how creativity meshes with technical skill. They're not just dabbling in art and storytelling; they're mastering complex techniques like systematic inventive thinking and 3D modeling, and demonstrating that artistry can go hand-in-hand with technical development. IVG is even helping to expand the girls’ skill set to include AI prompt engineering, enabling them to use AI to refine their innovation and design work.
It's through this blend of skills that IVG is helping to ensure that the girls it is mentoring are not just consuming technology; they're actively shaping it. The five teenagers at this year’s AWE EU event noted in their talk how they have moved beyond basic design into the realm of creating detailed, interactive 3D models, proving that their abilities are as expansive as the virtual worlds they help bring to life. What is exciting is that this powerful combination of creativity and technical knowledge is helping to set a new standard in the XR industry.
What was abundantly clear from the panel discussion was that IVG isn't just a company; it's a launching pad for young talent. They're spotting the potential in these girls early and giving them the tools to grow—such as VR headsets and a shot at real projects. It's not just about empowering young talent to make money; it's about helping them make a mark and changing the game for young creators everywhere.
As a result, by spotting young talent, IVG is hoping to empower the girls that it works with, whilst giving them a platform to shine at the same time. For example, at just 14, Natalia from Poland has already started making her mark. With IVG's support, she's turned her passion for art, cosplay, and VR into real projects that are getting attention. She's more than a creator; she's a trendsetter with a sense of style and a drive to make things happen.
Tereze, a 16-year-old from Latvia, is another example of how IVG fosters young talent. Despite the technical nature of programming and its male-dominated landscape, Tereze has found her creative niche within it, thanks to the opportunities IVG has opened up for her. Through her work with the company, she's discovered that her love for storytelling can translate into successful programming, which is a game-changer for her future in tech.
By backing these young creators and investing in their growth, IVG is not just betting on the future of technology; it is actively building it with a community of empowered young women at the helm.
One topic that came up during the talk was fast fashion, and how the team at IVG is making it their mission to tackle the issue with a plan to make the fashion industry more sustainable. By partnering with large retailers like Zara and H&M, not as adversaries, but as collaborators, IVG and its talented team are hoping to bring forth a model that prioritizes sustainability and consumer involvement.
The proposed strategy involves using IVG.World's platform to allow community members to vote on designs, bringing the most popular ones to life in collaboration with fashion retail giants. This approach aims to reduce waste by ensuring that production is demand-driven and items created are wanted and valued, thereby tackling one of the most pressing issues in fast fashion – overproduction and subsequent waste.
By aligning the interests of creators, consumers, and companies, the young panelists are advocating for a future where fashion is not only trendy but also responsible and sustainable, showcasing the power of technology and collective action in driving significant industry change.
It’s not just the physical world that girls are aiming to save though. The conversation took a turn into one of the team’s projects set in a new metaverse world. However, it's a place that needs saving, apparently from modern-day issues that have crept in and poisoned the entities living there. With this project, the girls are not just building a game in the metaverse; they're creating a metaphor, with a fire spitting dragon that sits on a pile of clothes as the main enemy – beautifully reflecting our world's challenges and highlighting their mission to tackle fast fashion.
As well as building out the metaverse, the panelists spoke about the importance of building a community and the support they've received from IVG. They stressed the significance of mentorship and collaboration in their journey, underscoring the value of a supportive network for young creators.
One of the core themes was the desire to challenge existing norms. The girls are not just part of the XR community; they are actively working to transform it. The panelists also spoke of a sisterhood—a collaborative and supportive network that's integral to their growth and success in the XR field.
As a result, IVG.World isn't just building a community; it's nurturing a family of forward-thinkers, each member emboldened by their shared experiences, as well as by the support of their peers and mentors. The exciting thing is, this approach is helping to craft a resilient and empowered generation ready to make substantive contributions to the XR industry and beyond.
The economic model presented by IVG during the panel discussion is an innovative approach to empowerment, where financial independence and investment in the future are key outcomes. The young panelists shared their experiences of earning while learning, a system that not only provides immediate compensation for their work but also offers stock ownership.
This model, which could be a game-changer for the industry, results in the building of a business that’s about sharing success with those who help make it happen, and valuing the present contributions of its workers, whilst simultaneously investing in their futures (thereby fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility).
What also stood out was, despite their age, the five panelists were certainly not naive to the way the world works, and were wise in knowing that financial freedom grants them power, which they can ultimately use to make a difference in the world. It was refreshing to see the passion of the panelists, who were not simply passive participants in a corporate machine; they are active contributors to a growing business, learning the ropes of financial literacy and entrepreneurship, and building their XR skill set along the way.
It is forward-thinking strategies like this that will greatly help to equip the next generation with the tools to not just navigate but also to shape the economic landscape of the future.
The IVG girls are clear on one thing: they're in it to build something bigger than themselves. It's not just about making money; it's about making a difference. With the power of XR and a fresh perspective, they're out to prove that true wealth comes from creating change.
The session wrapped up with a reminder that this is just the start. The girls from IVG are on a mission, and they're looking for people to join them—not just in their company, but in their cause. They're at the front lines, fighting the good fight with XR as their weapon of choice.
For those looking to keep the conversation going, you can find out more at IVG.World. And for anyone with the means to back them, IVG is just getting started on their seed round. It's an invitation to be part of the next big thing in tech, led by a team that's already proving they can lead the charge.
It was an absolute pleasure to have had such an inspiring panel at AWE EU this year, and we can’t wait to see what the girls get up to over the next year, and witness how they shape the future of spatial computing in the years to come.
You can watch the full talk below, along with all other session content from AWE EU last month, which is available now on the AWE YouTube channel.