Principal announces Youth Can Innovation Program, awards $350,000 to four companies

Principal Financial Group, in partnership with the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), has announced the Youth Can Innovation Program, an initiative dedicated to furthering the work of organizations that help youth achieve economic opportunity and financial health.

The program will seek to identify and invest in promising companies that are attempting to help to improve the financial health of youth.

“Faced with challenges like rising education and housing costs, greater debt, and increased job insecurity, young adults are more likely to be financially insecure than previous generations,” said Mandi McReynolds, director of community relations and the Principal Foundation. “That’s why Principal is dedicated to investing in innovation that directly benefits the future of this community.”

Through the newly announced program, Principal has granted $350,000 to four companies focused on leveraging technology to address the financial insecurity many young adults experience today.

“The Principal Foundation is positioned to help 50,000 youth, aged 15-24, earn and save more within the next five years,” McReynolds said. “The organizations participating in our first-ever Youth Can Innovation Showcase represent some of the most promising solutions that can help us achieve that goal.”

The Showcase

On Tuesday, October 30, four organizations showcased their ideas to a panel of industry experts comprising financial and business executives, not-for-profit leaders, and journalists.

Each team presented pitched their organization for five minutes followed by a Q&A period with the panelists and the audience. Following the pitches, two teams received $150,000 grants each, with the other two teams each receiving $25,000 grants.

In addition to grant money, all four of the selected companies will receive strategic guidance, advisory assistance and collaboration opportunities with CFSI.

More than 300 local community members attended the showcase, including 130 students from 16 Iowa high schools in the non-profit Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) program to ask questions.

The four teams showcasing their ideas were:

  • A.M Money, a Chicago-based organization, developing a student loan repayment solution that allows borrowers’ payments to rise or fall along with their income.
  • Edquity, a financial services company in Brooklyn that plans to develop and test a first-of-its-kind financial success platform that provides college students with resources to help them weather financial stresses.
  • MyPath, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that seeks to provide young people enrolled in employment programs in Seattle and San Jose with a path to financial success through a combination of in-person and online financial tools.
  • MoneyThink would build a web-based tool that would help under-resourced high school seniors understand their post-secondary options; when paired with the nonprofit’s existing financial coaching program, it would help high school seniors in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Bay area to navigate the financial aid process.

The top two teams, Edquity and MyPath, were awarded $150,000 each. The remaining two teams, MoneyThink and A.M. Money, received $25,000 each to advance their ideas.  The Audience Favorite, Edquity, received an additional $10,000.