In bid to stay relevant, media company Money Compass ventures into e-learning, launches ECF
By Kiran Kaur Sidhu January 26, 2021
- Media player launches e-learning app to students to start financial planning early
- Ongoing ECF campaign to raise US$370k for further development, expansion
According to the Financial Education Network, 2 out of 3 Malaysians are ill equipped with sound financial knowledge. About 65% of Malaysians barely have savings for retirement as most of them have less than RM50,000 within their EPF (Employer Provident Fund) account.
As the founder and chief executive officer of Money Compass Media (M) Sdn Bhd, a financial education media, Amy Seok (pic, left) has been long aware of the grim situation.
She launched Money Compass 20 years ago as a publication dedicated to educating Malaysians about financial planning. Starting off as a print publication, it also runs digital versions in Malay and Mandarin.
Aiming to make a bigger impact, in June 2019 she launched ULearnMONEY as the e-learning extension of Money Compass aimed at promoting financial literacy amongst students. But it was a decision grounded in survival as much as it was about trying to make a real impact for Amy who founded Money Compass in 2001.
“A couple of years ago, we realised it was not enough to be a media only. We compete with social media platforms which are quite interactive. Our readers, subscribers and supporters are attracted by many other channels as well,” says Amy. “We had to ask ourselves how we could offer a more effective communication channel with our audience.” Hence the move into launching an e-learning service.
While the available content for sale currently consist of books and video courses around financial literacy, Amy talks of adding a learning management system (LMS) in the future which will offer customers the ability to take spot quizzes after watching videos, track progress and issue reports for users and reward them.
To date, ULearnMONEY has reached out to over 100,000 participants offline and 500,000 online, through webinars and other events. “ULearnMONEY is an initiative in elevating financial literacy for Malaysians in supporting the Government’s National Financial Literacy Strategy 2019-2023,” says Amy. Part of the strategy involves collaborating with the Financial Literacy Education Network, spearheaded by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission of Malaysia.
To raise funds for its growth, Amy has turned to Ata Plus and equity crowdfunding (ECF), seeking to raise US$370,000 (RM1.5 million) via its campaign. “For this whole month, we are on a mission to invite discerning individuals and institution fund managers to invest in our expansion plans.”
The financial literacy gap among tertiary students
While universities and other institutes of higher education are busy preparing students for lifelong careers, educating them about financial education often takes a backseat. With good spending and saving habits best cultivated early, ULearnMONEY aims to offer education on the topic at this crucial juncture.
For this, it has developed a programme called Financial Literacy 123. “We have 70 short-bite videos that are three minutes each covering 20 topics. These include how to set goals, inculcate saving habits, understanding bad debt, economic cycles, inflation and cryptocurrency.”
Having visited universities throughout Malaysia in 2018 and 2019, Amy has signed 40 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), contracts and letters of interest over this period and gathered 2,000 learners on board. The ambitious plan is to capture half a million university students in the next two years.
It appears a steep goal considering the Covid-19 interruption to classroom learning at universities. However, Amy believes the government’s latest movement control order (MCO) is the perfect time for universities to introduce ULearnMONEY’s programme.
“Our platform is ready and we are now focusing on marketing. Initially, we didn’t go too hard as we were still in the midst of development. But the content is now ready,” says Amy, although she expects some delays in onboarding universities during this MCO period.
On top of the 70 bite-sized videos, ULearnMoney’s programne also offers 20 financial literacy tests, 20 financial behaviour tests and an online certificate upon completion. The website is also kept interactive with gamification features, forum discussions, private messaging and comment sections.
Equity Crowdfunding for Growth
Through the equity crowdfunding exercise that runs till 31 Jan, ULearnMONEY aims to raise RM1.5 million for marketing and events, technology and content development. And while there is a focus on university students, Amy believes there is also a market in the 15 million employed Malaysians and even among the estimated 300,000 financial services professionals in the country.
Raising the funding will kickstart plans to develop the LMS, more financial education content, build a network of independent financial content creators, as well as begin development of the Financial Tool Hub application.
Supported by the Ministry of Education and over 36 institutions of higher learning in Malaysia, content will be offered to university students as well as the general public to promote a mindset shift in financial management, and offer access to credible and trusted information from the coaches of ULearnMONEY.
While the platform is currently aimed at Malaysian users, Amy plans to expand into neighbouring countries in the future.
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