Goldie Blox - Debbie Sterling

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Company: Goldie Blox, Oakland, CA
Entry Submitted By: Sunshine Sachs
Company Description: GoldieBlox is the award-winning children's multimedia company disrupting the pink aisle in toy stores globally and challenging gender stereotypes with the world's first girl engineer character. Through the integration of storytelling and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) principles, GoldieBlox creates toys, books, apps, videos, animation and merchandise; the tools that empower girls.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Products –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: Debbie Sterling, Founder & CEO

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Debbie Sterling is the founder and CEO of GoldieBlox. While pursuing her degree in Mechanical Engineering - Product Design at Stanford, she was bothered by the lack of women in her program. She became obsessed with the notion of "disrupting the pink aisle" with a toy that would introduce girls to the joy of engineering at a young age. Worldwide, just 14% of engineers are women and only 25 per cent of the computing workforce are women.

Sterling made it her mission to tackle the gender gap in STEM. She spent a year studying how girls learn best, researching gender differences, talking with neuroscientists and educators, and observing children's play patterns.

Sterling learned "Girls really love stories and narratives ... it became really obvious to me that the way to get girls engaged in engineering and building was to incorporate a narrative," Sterling.

Sterling developed GoldieBlox, a series of interactive books and construction toys to leverage girls' advanced verbal skills to help develop and build self confidence in their spatial skills. The star of the books is Goldie, a curious girl with a love of engineering. As she goes on adventures with her friends, she comes across problems that she must solve by building simple machines. As the story unfolds, the girls get to build what Goldie builds, developing the spatial and problem-solving skills that are fundamental to engineering.

Early on, Debbie faced several rejections stating “construction toys for girls don’t sell”. Undeterred, she turned to Kickstarter and reached her goal in 4 days! The Kickstarter video she produced went vital and within three months she had a million dollars in orders.

In 2014, she won Intuit's "Small Business Big Game" promotion, winninga 30-second ad in the Super Bowl. Immediately after the ad aired, the traffic on the website jumped and Sterling and her team have been able to turn that excitement into something greater for the company.

Since the initial blond white Goldie was introduced, Sterling has embraced the call for increased Diversity and introduced new haracters Ruby Rails, a popular African American girl who is a whiz at coding; Valentina Voltz , a Hispanic engineer, and Li Gravity, a boy who love stunts and is a physics expert.

Starting a new multimedia company for kids isn’t easy. But Sterling has managed to spark large retail partnerships and keep the momentum going with a steady stream of new products and new characters.

In 2016,

• Signed her first licensing deal with Random House for a series of books,
• launched GoldieBlox’s second app to introduce coding to children as young as 4,
• launched a web series using Youtube stars and inventive Toy Hackers, and
• introduced a curriculum guide for educators.
• GoldieBlox-themed TV shows and apparel are also in the works, and
• look for the girl-powered float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

GoldieBlox now has a total of 17 products available in more than 6,000 retailers worldwide — and a growing library of more than 100 videos that teach engineering and problem-solving skills. GoldieBlox has sold more than one million toys and has had a million-plus app downloads.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):

Debbie Sterling is the Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox, the award-winning children’s multimedia company disrupting the pink aisle in toy stores globally and challenging gender stereotypes with the world’s first girl engineer character.

Debbie is an engineer, entrepreneur, and one of the leaders in the movement toward empowering girls to build their confidence, dreams and ultimately, their futures. She was named TIME’s "Person of the Moment,” honored by the National Retail Foundation as one of 25 “People Shaping Retail’s Future,” and was recently added to Fortune Magazine’s prestigious “40 Under 40” list. In 2015, Debbie was inducted as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and honored by the National Women’s History Museum with a “Living Legacy” Award for her work empowering girls around the world.