Esprit Venture Challenge: Mini Money Management
Mini Money Management is an app that helps parents and teachers educate children on the importance of financial literacy using everyday experiences. MMM creates an economy where the child receives income such as a salary, bonuses and overtime and then pays for real-life expenses and activities such as rent, meals, and fines. Children learn to prioritize limited resources with their unlimited desires for activities and products. They very quickly learn that too many fines reduce their ability to pay for what they desire, instilling critical thinking and self motivation.
For Parents, MMM helps make parenting fun and easy while instilling important qualities in their children like responsibility and financial awareness. Children will be motivated to ask parents for extra chores to do around the house, not the other way around. Using a household economy, parents can help their children learn about money through experiential learning, and MMM creates a safe space for children to make their financial mistakes and experience those consequences at the age of 8, not 18, or 28.
For Teachers, MMM is a free educational app that uses an interactive classroom management system to introduce K-8 students to financial literacy. Using a tech enabled classroom economy, it teaches students that money is a limited resource that must be prioritized while also giving teachers more control over the classroom. MMM meets national and state level financial literacy standards and is designed to integrate seamlessly with a teacher's existing classroom structure.
Mini Money Management is a web based application. Parents and teachers create an account and go through our onboarding process to set up their child’s economy. When they enter their children’s names, the system will automatically create the children an account which includes a checking and savings account, a place to pay their bills, take out loans, and purchase items from the shop. We have the entire economy preset for the parents including the finances and the items that children can purchase in the shop. A majority of the main income and expenses including salary, rent, meals etc are set to automatically occur to ensure the least amount of work. Parents and teachers can reward good behaviors with bonuses and discourage undesirable behaviors with fines.
The mission of Mini Money Management is to educate an entire generation of children on the importance of financial literacy. The World Economic Forum did a study and found that children begin to develop their spending and savings habits by the age of 5. A big problem with financial education is a lack of resources that focus on teaching our youth. Children will be taken on a day long field trip or they will have a financial expert come in and speak to their class. When you look at the way that children learn basic subjects like reading, writing and math, they are taught these on a day to day basis. How can we expect a student to be financially literate when they attend a 2 hour field trip once a year? MMM uses the approach that children learn best through experience. The biggest problem that teachers and parents face is that they weren’t educated on financial literacy so they don’t feel equipped to teach it to their children. That is why we have created MMM, to make it easier for parents and teachers to financially educate their children, without needing to be an ‘expert’.
About the Founders
Lorne Jenkins received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Campbell University while running division 1 track and field for four years. He then received his master’s degree in finance from the University of East London. After graduating, he worked in foreign exchange as a broker before moving back to Colorado to start MMM, a childhood game his mother and co-founder played with him growing up.
Ellen M. Ross created the idea for MMM in 2004, and has further developed the idea since. Ellen has a law degree from Case Western Reserve University and is an attorney currently running a successful law practice. She has worked with Junior Achievement, the Big Brother Big Sister Program, the Little Buddy Program in law school raised three children and fostered teenage children.