Tiffany Marr, founder and CEO of Wemblr, an Ohio-based financial technology company, noticed her kids engaging in conversations on social media about digital currency and investing, she knew it was the right time to launch a program for this age group. “These kids aren’t shying away from any of it,” she says.
The idea for Wemblr-ED was born. Marr partnered with South-Western City School District in Grove City, Ohio to create a financial literacy app for high school students. The game simulation app was launched in May, a class project in the district’s Career Technical Education’s Mobile Applications Class. Students met weekly with Marr and their instructor to develop the product.
Students describe Wemblr-ED as a digital version of the board game, Game of Life. Users select a profile, are given a career and salary and make financial decisions throughout the game. Alerts about emergencies, insurance payments and bills pop up when the student logs in to the app. “It takes students through all of these thought processes that we go through when making financial decisions,” Marr says. “It teaches them to be assertive about decision-making and very thoughtful in the process.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill into law stipulating that Ohio high school students must take a financial literacy course before graduating. Marr believes Wemblr-ED is the solution to this requirement in Ohio and more than 20 other states.
Founded in 2017, Wemblr is a play on the words “women” and “assemblage” as well as a nod to Marr’s interest in helping marginalized group. The company provides a FinTech tool for employers to give employees as a workplace benefit. Wemblr also works with faith-based organizations interested in offering financial education to its members. The app includes peer strategy networks, wealth assessment tools and matches users with a financial professional. “I wanted it to be a platform where people come together to help others,” Marr says.
When Marr heard yes from the Community Development Fund, the timing was perfect, she says. A portion of funding as well as the State of Ohio’s International Market Access Grant for Exporters funded her company’s participation in the United States – United Kingdom Financial Innovation Partnership Initiative. Wemblr was one of 15 companies accepted to attend this one-week trade mission in late June in Belfast, Ireland and London, England. The conference’s purpose is to expand opportunities for financial services, technology and international commerce in the U.S. and abroad. “We met with a variety of institutions with vested interest in the FinTech space,” she says. “We were exposed to potential partners and support organizations and made key connections that could help mobilize our solutions in new markets. It’s hard to attach a number to the opportunities that exist abroad. Suffice it to say, it’s game changing.”
Photo: Wemblr-ED kickoff with South-Western City School District in Grove City, Ohio. Credit Lorie Holt, Columbus Chamber of Commerce.