FINANCIAL BUZZ: Junior Achievement Helps Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Find Their Purpose Today

Research by Gallup shows that two-thirds of adults are financially illiterate, with women trailing men at a five percent deficit. To help combat the global prominence of financial illiteracy, JA Worldwide® (Junior Achievement) and HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC) are relaunching the JA More than Money program to elementary students in nearly 30 countries around the world.

Designed specifically for children ages 7-11, the program introduces students to the concepts of financial literacy and entrepreneurship, including social studies learning objectives focused on money-management skills, goods and services, and global markets. A core focus of the updated curriculum is around teaching young students how to reach their full economic potential by combining purpose-driven thinking with entrepreneurial skills.

“The world is changing and our partnership with HSBC enables us to enhance a program that already has global distribution into schools,” said Asheesh Advani, President & CEO, JA Worldwide. “In addition to acknowledging the shift toward innovative technologies within the global economy, we believe the updated program encourages young entrepreneurs to develop a mindset of creating a business that has a positive impact on their communities.”

Recent trends in financial literacy and entrepreneurism show that the most successful millennial entrepreneurs are distinguished by a desire to positively affect their community and the economy. According to HSBC’s 2017 Essence of Enterprise Report, 25 percent of entrepreneurs in their 20s say that having a positive economic impact was a factor in their decision to go into business and 23 percent say they wanted to have a positive impact in their community.

“HSBC has been a long-time partner of JA Worldwide, and our volunteers look forward to introducing the concept of purpose-driven thinking to students in their area,” said Patrick J. Burke, President and Chief Executive Officer, HSBC USA. “Our employees enjoy bringing their real-world experience and financial knowledge into the classroom, and preparing young students to be positive contributors in their local communities and beyond.”

Not to mention, the potential pay-off for developing a purpose-driven business is high. Eighty-seven percent of consumers believe companies perform best over time if their purpose goes beyond profit and 85 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a company with strong purpose to others as outlined in the Harvard Business Review Analytics October 2015 global survey “The Business Case for Purpose,” sponsored by the EY Beacon Institute.

The JA More than Money curriculum fosters these aspirations by introducing the foundations of entrepreneurship to children at an early age. Beginning with the “5 W’s,” they’re asked to describe who will help them get their business started, what product or service they will sell, where their business will be located, when it will open and most importantly, why it is needed. Through hands-on activities and new, kid-friendly characters serving as symbols for financial literacy and entrepreneurship concepts, the program teaches students a practical approach to starting a business and making smart decisions about managing money.

Upon conclusion of the program, students are able to identify the role of money in everyday life, understand the basic steps to starting and running a business, analyze the advantages and disadvantages of borrowing money, and explore the opportunities of global markets. The updated program also features online digital resources, further enhancing and building upon the skills taught in the classroom.

For nine years, HSBC Holdings has partnered with JA Worldwide to sponsor and implement JA More than Money, contributing $14.2 million (USD) since its original launch in 2008. Through 2015-2016, more than 8,200 HSBC volunteers have helped bring the program to more than 525,000 students globally. The program is still underway for 2016-2017, and we expect volunteer and student participation to continue to grow.