It took two character traits to get Banqer off the ground; determination, and naivety.
Our mission to ensure all Kiwi kids are prepared for the financial world ahead underpins everything we do. By naively thinking that Banqer could find its way into every New Zealand school we were unafraid to start this journey. We certainly didn’t have all the answers, but we had most of the questions, and a deep understanding of the problem of financial illiteracy in New Zealand.
The announcement of our partnership and Kiwibank’s commitment to support the programme in 1,000 classrooms around New Zealand is what fuels our naive thoughts. This level of support makes this mission we’re on achievable. And only a few months in we’re seeing this being realised in front of our eyes, the statistics speaking for themselves.
Already, more than 500 classrooms have signed up under the Kiwibank sponsored plan. We’re ripping down barriers to a financial education and, most importantly, reducing the potential for the situation where a lack of money could mean no access to a financial education.
It’s for these reasons we’re not shy in celebrating this partnership either. We know it’s working for everyone as we get bombarded with messages from teachers using Banqer. Comments like these find their way into our inboxes every week:
“Kiwibank is doing a wonderful thing by providing these opportunities for our students. I can see nothing but benefits arising from this programme. It fits in perfectly with our Financial Literacy focus. ”
“Just wanted to let you know how much my class and I appreciate the support from Kiwibank. Banqer is an outstanding financial literacy tool which immerses learners in real world (almost) experiences and enables them to safely learn about the world around them”.
In particular I’m blown away when I hear stories of children that otherwise have trouble engaging or being motivated in class being behaviourally transformed by Banqer. Two weeks ago I was visiting a Banqer school when the teacher pointed one of these students out. I went over and chatted to him. He showed me around his Banqer dashboard, and told me about the plan he and his father had schemed with regards to how he was going to conquer the class property market. His enthusiasm and curiosity shone through. This took me back to a very similar conversation I had almost two years ago with my brother. The conversation that sparked the idea for Banqer.
Despite the positive feedback, there’s no time to become complacent. Like every other start-up out there we face daily challenges surrounding growth, retention, engagement, product development — the list goes on. But I’m also encouraged daily as well but the increasing level of adoption of personal finances in New Zealand schools.
Within our short two years we’ve seen that there is no longer such a reluctance to interact with the technology, or reason to be fearful of teaching such a personal subject - money. We’ve certainly played our part with our partners, but can’t take credit for this alone. It’s a combined effort of everyone contributing to the National Strategy, overseen by the Commission for Financial Capabilities. And it has to be as financial literacy is all of our problem, and therefore the solution must come from everyone. As New Zealanders we all have a role to play.
Want to find out more? Read how Kiwibank and Banqer are working together to support the next generation of Kiwis on the Banqer site. You can also find out how to get Banqer and interactive financial literacy into a classroom you care about.