Entrepreneurship tips for college girls: the Wallet project


While as adults we often see ourselves as the best teachers for children, there are times when the relativity and familiarity of a peer can make young people more receptive to what they hear, and more likely to hear what they really want to know, not the lessons adults perceive to be important. As a parent of adults now in their twenties, I can attest that it is only after high school that adult advice is heard.

I recently spoke with Kirthi Manivannian and Sarah Kathuria, the co-founders of The portfolio project, a program for the transmission of entrepreneurial skills to college girls. Although they themselves (or maybe due!) Are young, they have an excellent perspective on education and running a business aimed at pre-teen girls.

Mary Juetten: Where are you based?

Sarah Kathuria: From now on, the Wallet Project is a digital platform to ensure that its resources are accessible to everyone in the world. Kirthi is from Rochester, Minnesota, and I’m from Parkland, Florida, so keeping the digital platform is the plan for now.

Juetten: What problem are you solving?

Kirthi Manivannan: In middle school, we realized that there were no opportunities for girls in this age group to explore the field of business and its practical applications. We have chosen to focus specifically on girls in middle school because this is the age when children begin to explore their academic interests. It has been statistically proven that there is a significant gap between the number of female CEOs and founders versus male CEOs and founders, which is why we have narrowed our target audience down to college girls.

Our mission is to provide an educational and inspiring platform for college girls to spark their interest in entrepreneurship by fostering a healthy mindset for money, learning proven entrepreneurial strategies, and adapting a mindset from growth.

Juetten: Who are your customers and how do you find them?

Kathuria: Our clients are girls who are in college and exploring their academic interests. We reach them through advertising in our communities using the Nextdoor app, asking Instagram influencers to advertise our workshops on their platform, and reaching out to local colleges.

Juetten: How have past projects and / or experience helped this new project?

Manivannan: In college, we were not given the opportunity to explore the business world. We were pushed to explore areas primarily related to STEM, as our schools only offered things like science fairs and coding lessons. As a result, we both felt lost when choosing an academic focus in high school because the STEM field didn’t appeal to us.

In 8th grade, I had the opportunity to participate in an application competition for girls. Here I was able to create everything from a formal business plan to presentation and demonstration videos. This is really what sparked my interest in business. I was fascinated that the way you present and market an idea is so crucial to capturing the attention of the audience or target market. Thanks to this experience, I was able to help create the program of our workshops and an action plan to build the Wallet Project platform.

Kathuria: When I realized that business could be something that interested me, I started looking for opportunities that would help me learn more about it. It was during my early years in high school that I was able to get an internship in a company where I really learned the basics of entrepreneurship by helping to create pitch decks, formulating marketing strategies and working with peers around the world. It was then that I realized how valuable these skills were not only in relation to the field of business, but also for any career path that one may choose. My past experiences have helped me to brand our platform and come up with innovative ideas for growth.

Juetten: Who is on your team?

Manivannan: Our team is made up of 4 people. We both create the content for the workshops we run. During our workshops, we open the floor to questions at the end of day 2 for all entrepreneurial or financial questions that college students may have. Then we hold a monthly interview to answer these questions in a 20-45 minute YouTube video.

In order to ensure that we are doing our utmost to maintain all parts of this organization, we decided to outsource the creation and expansion of the design to people we knew who we could trust.

  • Trupti Singh is the Director of Artistic Design. She helps create content for our Instagram page whenever we collaborate with another organization, interview a female entrepreneur, or want to let our audience know about upcoming workshops.
  • Madeeha Hanif is the Director of Expansion. She will be managing our upcoming Ambassador Program to help bring a more diverse audience to our workshops. At the same time, she creates and manages our monthly newsletter.

We have decided to keep our core team small in order to ensure the quality of our program as this allows us to work more collaboratively.

Kathuria: For now, we do not plan to make a profit because we want to keep this platform free and accessible to everyone.

Juetten: Startups are an adventure – what’s your favorite startup story?

Manivannan: Our favorite startup story is how Sara Blakely founded the Spanx company. The way she used her surrounding resources to create a product that produces a smoother look while wearing white pants made us think of all ideas as good ideas. It encouraged us to take our idea of ​​forming the portfolio project and making it a real organization.

Juetten: How do you measure success and what is your favorite success story?

Kathuria: We measure our success if the students who attend our workshops develop an interest in our teaching. Even if a student is interested in it and understands how basic business knowledge can be used in the future career path they want to pursue, we would consider it a success. We associate success with what the student retains and is able to apply to his or her life through discussions in our workshops, rather than just focusing on memorizing technical concepts and business terms.

The way we measure success is tied to one of our favorite success stories, that of Amanda Doamaral, Founder and CEO of Fiveable. Amanda was an AP teacher who felt that she was not having enough impact on her students and that the teaching methods she was forced to use were ineffective. She knew she wanted to create something that would allow her to support as many students as possible while using different techniques that were not usually used in school. While Amanda faced many ups and downs during her trip, we both love how she wasn’t afraid to take the risk of creating something meaningful for herself that she knew she knew. , would have an impact on the lives of children around the world. Since its debut in 2018, Fiveable has grown in popularity immensely and has impacted millions of children around the world.

Juetten: Any advice for start-up founders?

Manivannan: When creating this platform, we needed a source of credibility. We had to contact self-taught women entrepreneurs in order to validate our program and answer specific questions on the topic that we may not be able to answer. In doing so, we have become much more knowledgeable on the subject and we want everyone to know that we should never be afraid to ask for help.

Don’t be put off by slow starts and people who don’t take you as seriously as they should. As high school students, it was easy for many people to ignore the work we do or take our mission seriously. We have had meetings with many entrepreneurs in the past who either constantly reschedule or don’t show up at the meeting at all. If we had pulled over after being left in the dark, we couldn’t have grown to the scale we are today.

What is the long term vision for your business?

Kathuria: We are in the process of creating an Ambassador Program to bring a more diverse crowd to our quarterly workshops.

We believe that implementing this Ambassador Program will not only help recruit students, but will also help create a strong community of college girls who are actively involved in supporting each other as they learn more about them. entrepreneurship, growth and the money mindset. As our platform is completely virtual, we plan to have ambassadors around the world to spread awareness of the importance of educating women about business and finance.

So inspiring on different levels, and the Spanx story is my favorite. Congratulations on such an important undertaking. #From.

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