Stuck at home during the pandemic, high school student Aryan Rana, from Berwyn, has started to teach himself about investing, the stock market and personal finance.
His isolation sparked an idea – and the spark of a winning company.
Rana, 16, thought others his age needed a fun way to learn about money, so he invented Market Works, a card game that teaches the principles of finance.
“Money and finance are more important concepts [that] you incorporate into your daily life, not taught in high school,” Rana said in an interview. “Schools aren’t doing enough to teach finance, and online sources are intimidating.”
He launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign in April and raised over $3,500. The Market Works card game is due to ship to customers in the fall and sells for $20.
Market Works incorporates concepts such as debt, savings and speculation. The goal is to learn how to invest and grow wealth while managing expenses and other financial obstacles.
Rana, a rising junior at Conestoga High School, said Market Works was born out of a series of extracurricular courses he enrolled in through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a nonprofit with more than 100 chapters at school. national scale.
His idea won a local competition, which catapulted him among 22 other students pitching their business in the national competition. Rana won first place – out of more than 1,000 students who attended the academy this year – on June 4, as he and other aspiring The CEOs competed like a “Shark Tank” in a virtual final round.
And it wasn’t just a ribbon he won. Cash and scholarships followed: Rana won $5,000 and a $30,000 scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, better known as YEA!, recruits middle and high school students, grades six through 12, who focus on a business idea and entrepreneurship – turning a concept into a valuable business. YEAH! teaches students the importance of social and business entrepreneurship, but also the process by which they start a business or a social movement.
It’s hands-on entrepreneurial education, and it’s not free. The cost per year totals around $800, although scholarships are available.
Students learn how to write business plans, prepare and present ideas to investors, obtain financial support, register businesses and social organizations, develop marketing plans, prepare trade shows and sell products and services.
The academy’s Philadelphia chapter has bold support: Rick Forman, founder of the Forman Mills discount chain, is one of the program’s sponsors and spoke at the chapter in May.
“I have been on the board for seven years and on their panels. We judge kids’ business plans, and that’s really fun,” Forman said in an interview. “Some of them are so young and amazing. It’s the same phenomenon of capitalism, freedom, entrepreneurs – everything old is new again.
A graduate of YEA! Philadelphia, Shreyas Parab, made a successful line of custom ties and went to Stanford University. “He’s going to be a major player, I’m sure,” Forman said. “We always stay in touch.”
YEAH! was founded in 2004 and developed at the University of Rochester with support from a Kauffman Foundation grant. A chapter formed in Greater Philadelphia in 2013. More than 9,000 students across the country have graduated in the past ten years, according to local chapter executive director Ellen Fisher.
Rana pre-sold 90 orders for Market Works in the first 36 hours, her idea became a reality.
He credits YEA! Philadelphia for lessons learned and the region for having “one of the largest communities of board game enthusiasts in the nation”.
His next step for the company?
“The largest board game convention in the world is taking place at [Pennsylvania] Convention Center in December” in downtown, he said. (That would be PAX Unplugged, Dec. 9-11). “I’m trying to get a table.”
“I sold about 160 games on Kickstarter, and I sold 40 outside of that,” he said. It will offer discounts for bulk orders and plans to sell to toy stores, financial advisers, accountants and insurance brokers.
“It’s a much better gift than a pen,” Rana said.
Classmates at Rana’s Philadelphia-area academy included students offering everything from baked goods to art books to aromatherapy pet beds to car parts. exotics and parties with a social purpose.
Here is a list of this year’s YEAs! Philadelphia attendees: Daniel Adibi, Episcopal Academy, 8th year; Praneil Balike, Downingtown Stem Academy, Grade 9; Ania Bethea, Lower Merion Secondary School, Grade 9; Kayla Bigelow, Northley Middle School, 8th grade; Kyle Burns, Fusion Academy Ardmore, 10th grade; John CostalasMalvern Preparatory School, Grade 12; Advice John, Springfield High School, Grade 11; Elle Fox, PA Leadership Charter School, Grade 10; Kaitlyn Johnson, Baldwin School, Grade 12; Siddharth Karthik, Conestoga High School, Grade 10; Advaith Kollipara, Pennfield Middle School, 9th grade; Therese Mitchell, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, Grade 12; Aryan Rana, Conestoga High School, Grade 10; and Henry Yoon, Harrison High School, Grade 10.