An online app-based learning program that teaches primary school students business skills and financial literacy has received a $50,000 skills and knowledge grant from Commercialisation Australia.
The funds will go towards the US expansion of start-up Cashtivity, which recently completed a pilot program with four schools from a range of socio-economic backgrounds in Melbourne.
Founder and chief executive Marissa Di Pasquale told StartupSmart while financial literacy and business skills were universal, they were looking forward to finding out how to best position the app in the US.
“Having finished the pilot, we know the app equips teachers with a framework to facilitate that learning, especially the practical side,” Di Pasquale says. “We learned a lot about how teachers work, how they think and why they really need to teach kids these skills.”
The app guides students through developing basic business plans, managing and tracking cash and payments and finally transferring those funds into bank accounts. Students have used the app to run a variety of fundraisers such as cake stalls.
Cashtivity intends to launch the app in early 2014. Di Pasquale says the aim is to have 300 Australian schools involved by 2015.
“Growing organically is key for us so we can learn from our customers. I’ve been working on the app for two years, and the idea for three years with Geelong Grammar. We first studied a cohort of students and how they learn about business there in 2011, and returned with our MVP (minimum viable product, a basic first edition of the app) in 2012 and learned so much from them,” Di Pasquale says.
As an app-powered business, Di Pasquale says the rapid rollout should be manageable but they are looking to build out their development team of four full-time and three part-time workers in the coming year.
Di Pasquale was one of seven entrepreneurs who graduated from the Sydney Founder Institute earlier this month.