Inspiration

Too many women are discouraged from pursuing financial independence. This stops with Saplings. As we were discussing potential financial hacks, we realized that none of us had gotten much of a financial education in high school. We’ve learned so much in STEM and social science classes, but our current school system doesn’t emphasize financial literacy. We decided to create a project to fill this gap, something to connect young people, especially women and non-binary folks to experienced women that can mentor them. Our platform provides links to resources that help people improve their financial literacy, and allows them to sign up as mentors or mentees. We chose a plant-related theme for our website to represent the growth and progress people will gain from building their financial literacy. The reason we chose to connect women with women is so that these young women who might not know a lot about the topic feel comfortable stating their insecurities. By having another woman to speak to, we hope that these young girls will feel safe sharing where their knowledge is lacking.

What it does

Our website is a hub for women to learn more about personal finance. We have a mentor/mentee matching system, a public forum to discuss issues, and a blog to connect users with resources. We also have a short quiz that users can take to test their knowledge of finance, which will then connect them to relevant resources based on their score.

How we built it

We used HTML/CSS for the frontend and JavaScript for the backend. In addition, we used Node.JS and JQuery to run the mentor/mentee matching algorithm.

Challenges we ran into

One of the biggest challenges we faced was writing the backend algorithm for the mentor-mentee matching process. We used Node.JS and JQuery, two technologies we haven’t used before, as a server to host the information. However, we had trouble connecting this server to the already created HTML pages. Another roadblock we encountered was using the Bandwidth API to text users the names and phone numbers of their matches.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of the way we collaborated and each used our skills to contribute something to our project. Some of us had never even touched the technologies we used in this project, so to be able to get them working in 24 hours was a feat we are really proud to have completed.

What we learned

We all learned a lot of new skills and technologies through this project. We hope that with this website, we can empower young women to go out into the world and feel comfortable and motivated to learn more about personal finance.

What's next for Saplings

Going forward, we want to keep working on our website to add even more features. We hope to make it more of a social network than a one-sided platform. In a few years, we want Saplings to be the number one spot for women to go to network with other women and teach each other about finance.

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