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Financial Literacy For Kids - Synapse Challenge

Sponsored by eMoney, USF Muma College of Business Certified Financial Planners Program, Finbod

The Challenge Brief

It is never too early to teach children about financial literacy.  This important topic is not often covered in elementary schools and there are few tools available to help parents engage young kids in developing this life skill.  This information is essential to ensuring that kids have a healthy relationship with money from an early age.

This is a challenge to develop a digital financial education platform based on the concepts and characters in “The Four Money Bears” book developed by certified financial planner and author, Mac Gardner:

  • Spend cautiously
  • Save diligently
  • Invest wisely
  • Give generously

The Challenge

Deliver an overview for a mobile app with a fun and entertaining way to introduce elementary school children ages 5-11 to the concepts of money management.

Submission may consist of a working demo plus supporting documents, or detailed PowerPoint, that includes the following:

The app should accomplish several key objectives:

  • TEACH Financial Literacy: The App must serve as an easy way for children between the ages of 5-11 to learn about money. The book has great tools to incorporate into the App. Feel free to use Personal Financial Planning tools/content that would apply to elementary school age children.
  • ANALYZE user experience: The App must incorporate some way to score the user’s interaction. This can be done through tests, rewards for advancing through stages, or any form of letting the user know that they are learning new ideas/concepts.
  • TRACK user development: The App must be able to engage kids at different grade levels. The App is being created for elementary school children. They should be able to enter their grades (Kindergarten to 5th grade) and have content that appeals to them. A parent that starts using the app with a child in Kindergarten should be able to track their progress all the way to 5th Grade.
  • This App will be based on a “Freemium” business model. Users will be able to download the App at no charge. The designer can choose to monetize the app by charging a subscription cost for extensive use, connecting a cost to some aspect of gamification, or some other means to allow the user to learn the use of money through the game.
  • The App will be marketed directly to consumers, educational institutions as well as financial services companies. Think of how the App would appeal to these three audiences.

The Challenge Rules

  • Applicants are encouraged to develop teams including a software developer and financial planning expert.  Each team member must be registered in order to complete their submission.
  • Final submissions must include the following:
    • Team Name
    • First and Last Names of each individual participant, phone number and email
    • Timeline and estimated cost to fully develop the app
  • All registrants of the innovation challenge must register by clicking the ACCEPT THIS CHALLENGE button below.
  • The information session is not mandatory to attend, however it is strongly encouraged and those who attend will have an advantage of a detailed q&a session.
  • The challenge management reserves the right to ask questions to the challenge participants.  It is required that participants answer the questions within 24 hours of the question being asked.  If questions are not answered in a timely manner, participants may be disqualified.
  • Teams can be up to 3 people.  If teams are more than 1 person, prize money will be shared by the team and breakdown of prize money is on the responsibility of the team lead.  There must be one designated team lead.
  • Teams may only enter one submission.
  • Teams of all skills are encouraged to submit projects.
  • Participating teams may ask for outside help and advice, but are required to complete all of the work on their own.
  • Work may be completed from the initial challenge registration until submission due date.
  • Work that was previously completed may be submitted but it must be called out and the team will not be judged on that work.  Only work completed during challenge time frame will be eligible for judgement and prize money.
  • Teams can use ideas that had previously been worked on but it must be called out and thus team will not be judged on that work.  Only work completed during challenge time frame will be eligible for judgement and prize money.
  • Teams are encouraged to utilize existing ideas.  Teams will be judged on the implementation of ideas and innovation that stems during the time of the challenge, rather than existing implementations.
  • Challenge management team reserves the right to disqualify any participating team.
  • The Challenge Hosts would welcome the opportunity to discuss sharing the intellectual property of the challenge submissions, should it choose to.
  • 5 minute video pitch submissions due by September 1, 2020.  Submissions and attachments should be sent directly to Challenges@SynapseFL.com and include the name of participants and the team name when applicable.
  • The judges will review the video pitch submissions.  If judges have any questions, they will submit to Synapse and Synapse will communicate with participants.  Judges will choose the top 5 submissions on October 1.
  • Participants will receive an email from Synapse on October 1 announcing the top 5.
  • The chosen top 5 will present their ideas at eMoney’s Annual Conference, being held virtually this year October 19-21.  Pitch participants must be present (virtually) to win.  During the conference, the Top 5 will present their video pitch and answer a live Q and A.  The winner will be announced during the conference (exact date TBD).
  • The winning team will receive a grand prize of $3,000

The Challenge Judges

  • Mac Gardner, CFP and author “The Four Money Bears”
  • Dr. Bob Tiller, CFP, RFC,  Director, USF Personal Financial Planning Program
  • Brian Kornfeld, President, Synapse
  • Ian Anderson, Publisher, Tampa Bay Business Journal
  • Celeste Revelli, Director of Financial Planning, eMoney