I come from a long line of risk-takers, which is ironic since my family was in the business of managing risk: banking. My great-grandfather came to America when he was 21 years old to build a better life. He went from being a door-to-door salesman to building a textile business and owning his own factory. As a business owner, he realized the important role banks play in growing businesses. In 1930, he decided to return home to Jerusalem with the vision of creating a bank to serve the region; and so he founded Arab Bank, which grew to become a catalyst behind growth in the region, a publicly traded and international entity, and our legacy. When my family and I exited Arab Bank in 2012, I had no idea what I would do next.
Growing up in Jordan, my family always guided me and encouraged me to succeed. I ended up obtaining a US education and working at the bank for 6 years, becoming an EVP of Branding and a board member of a number of our entities. However, that wasn't — and still isn't — the norm for most women in the region.
Today, there is a global gender revolution happening as more women find their voice to bring attention to equality. Research has proven time and again that when women are full participants in economic life, societies are made stronger at every level. I believe that young girls’ financial literacy is key to this shift: Girls who learn about smart money management early become women who make smart decisions, and women who make smart decisions have access to more options to make better choices for their lives.
As I thought about what I should do next in life, I realized that I wanted to direct my expertise in banking, branding, and social service toward encouraging young girls to become financially empowered women, so I took my risk and founded inherQuests, a financial education company for girls that makes learning about money fun. Our first product is an annual subscription for a monthly box that teaches basic financial concepts through an experiential learning curriculum that are delivered through Quests (fun games and activities). It also includes a parent guide, supplementary materials, rewards, and other fun items. It’s the first company of its kind, and is currently offered for girls in K-5 in the US.
In order to make inherQuests grow, I knew that I would need to raise external capital. Crowdfunding seemed like an inspired alternative to traditional venture capital, particularly for our concept. While companies founded by men get far more venture capital than those founded by women, the opposite is true for crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are filled with women-oriented and -led projects. Products like Boolean Box and Yellow Scope encourage girls’ interest in science and engineering. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls has raised over $1.6 million through Kickstarter and Indiegogo for its childrens’ book packed with stories from the lives of over 100 influential women.
In recognition of the fact that 47% of their successful campaigns are women-run, IndieGoGo has launched a yearlong initiative to support female entrepreneurs. I decided to use this platform our campaign. While the campaign is now closed, visit inherQuests to subscribe to our newsletter and join my Quest to ensure that every girl deserves to get what she needs to become a financially-empowered woman.