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Smart Thinker: Kendall Flutey is giving kids practical tools to learn about money

Smart Thinker: Kendall Flutey is giving kids practical tools to learn about money

Banqer co-founder Kendall Flutey explains how she was inspired by her kid brother to create the school banking tool and why the 'happy accident' is changing how Kiwi kids learn about money.

Smart Thinker: Kendall Flutey is giving kids practical tools to learn about money

Seven years ago, Kendall Flutey experienced a quarter-life crisis that saw her quit her accounting job in order to reconsider her career.

Now, the 29-year-old is the co-founder and CEO of Banqer, a digital teaching tool helping to improve the financial literacy of New Zealand children.

Founded in 2015, Banqer is an online financial-education platform for schools that gives kids practical experience with managing money.

Banqer lets children earn and spend classroom currency, transforming school into a virtual economy in which students can learn about financial concepts such as income, tax, KiwiSaver and more.

It’s also available to secondary schools, allowing students to manage a budget, explore career paths and flat with friends among other simulated scenarios. The idea for Banqer came about after a conversation between Fluteyand her much-younger brother, Jordy, who was 12 at the time.

“He really inspired the idea because he just started rambling to me one evening about all this money stuff and I was like, ‘Dude, what is going on? Why are you talking about taxes and employment law?’” says Flutey.

“He told me about the way in which the teacher was educating him about money and that it was all practical.”

That teacher was Micah Hocquardand although Flutey didn’t know him, she decided to meet with him for a coffee to learn about his teaching methods.

“I heard about how he developed this practical system over 10 years, and it was all with paper-based money. The teacher printed out money and the students earned it, traded it and spent it,” she says.

Having just taken a software development crash course, Flutey was on the lookout for a project to test other new skills.

“I said, ‘Hey, this is cool, but I could make your life a tonne easier by automating a bunch of this,” she says. “So we teamed up and that was the start.”

Fast forward to 2020, and Banqer is now used in more than half the primary and intermediate schools in New Zealand and is also being rolled out in Australia.

Flutey says Banqer’ssuccess has been “a bit of an accident, but a happy accident nevertheless”. “I certainly didn’t intend it to get this big, [at first] it was just for Jordy and his class, but it proved pretty popular.”

Knowing that so many schools are benefiting from Banqer’s technology, Flutey is pleased that she has been able to make an impact on children education.

“When I take it back to that conversation I had with my brother, and the follow-up with Micah, that all came about because I was mesmerised by the fact that Jordy’s financial future had been changed, so to know that this change is happening in half of the primary and intermediate schools in the country is pretty awesome,” she says.

“I hope that a lot of people get to have those conversations with the kids in their lives, because when you hear a 12-year-old chatting about investment properties or knowing about progressive tax rates, you kind of have faith in their future.

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