Addressing the financially illiterate elephant in the room

Issue: Volume 101, Number 12

Posted: 21 September 2022
Reference #: 1HAWTR

In a world where ‘money’ can be treated like a four-letter word, the students behind Budget Basics, a Young Enterprise Scheme group from Wellington East Girls’ College, are committed to breaking down the taboo on the topic with their new board game, Life Buy a Budget. 

Rheana, Angela, Princes, Khadija, Lizzy, Maya, Simran, and Elise (Lulu).

Rheana, Angela, Princes, Khadija, Lizzy, Maya, Simran, and Elise (Lulu).

When Maya and her teammates from Wellington East Girls’ Level 3 Business Studies class were given the opportunity to develop a virtual company for the Young Enterprise Scheme programme this year, they decided to address the financially illiterate elephant in the room. 

“I’ve always been interested in money and how it worked,” says Maya, CEO of Budget Basics and Year 13 student at Wellington East Girls’ College.

“When I would ask questions about it, I would never get any answers. I think there’s a lot of stigma attached to talking about money. It’s like we’re told – money is a thing, and you need to use it, but we’re not going to tell you anything about it.”

Just say, YES

Young Enterprise Trust is a charity (sponsored by the Ministry of Education, and others) dedicated to inspiring young people to discover their potential in business and life, with programmes that run alongside NCEA.

Sum Leong, business studies teacher at Wellington East Girls’ College, calls the 2022 Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) a “godsend”. 

“It’s motivational, competitive, and experiential by nature. It’s true authentic learning,” she says.

“There are five challenges that take the students from ideation through to market and review, as they create a real company with a real product or service. They learn by doing.”

Participants must seek out a problem to solve, discover their unique value proposition, do market research, work out their competitive advantage, costs and revenue streams – and each product or service must meet the quadruple bottom line (cultural, economic, environmental and social sustainability).

Sum says, “Financial literacy is not done enough at school. You still hear of people leaving secondary school not being able to manage money. This product helps to meet that need.”

Life Buy a Budget

Maya says it was a difficult process to come up with a business idea that was achievable within their framework, but when they came up with the idea of a board game that taught ākonga (or anyone, really) financial literacy, things began to click into place. 

To help test their idea and game prototypes, the students visited schools around the region and spoke with kaiako, tamariki and rangatahi, who trialled the board game and gave feedback. Based on their experience, the team made tweaks to simplify and streamline things. 

Maya says, “The game is designed to be used primarily in schools or at home and is for ages nine and up.” 

It’s centred around the idea of improving financial literacy, and unlike games like Monopoly, the winner isn’t the one with the most money, the team explains. It’s the person who achieves their financial goals – which are hugely varied. 

The game also takes a holistic approach, where players get points on a Hauora Bar for using money in a way that promotes their wellbeing and self-care (for example, going out to dinner with friends). 

Rheana, communications and marketing manager for Budget Basics, adds, “The board of the game is actually made out of upcycled billboards to make it as environmentally friendly as possible.” 

Yes to Young Enterprise Scheme

What advice would you give to students looking to take part in YES?

Maya: “If you don’t know the people in your team, do some team bonding early on so it’s easier to connect and work together.”

Sum: “If you think you might want to start your own business or even if you have no idea whether business is for you, YES is a good place to find out. The programme is well supported and you get to experience as close to the real thing as you possibly can without, or with very little of, the associated financial risks.”

Find out more information about the Young Enterprise Scheme YES(external link)

Would you like a game for your school or kura?

If you’re interested in a game, you can find out more about Life Buy a Budget (external link)on the team’s website. The RRP for the game is $39.99.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:45 am, 21 September 2022

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts