A Gamified App Teaching Credit Education Nabs First Place in the Inaugural #IYKYK Hackathon

Student Team from Alabama State University

Experian & HomeFree-USA award $40,000 scholarship to winning team from Alabama State University for designing the next best credit education program for their peers (Black PR Wire)

 COSTA MESA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– A team of students from Alabama State University (ASU) took the top prize for their innovative credit education program to reach their peers in the first-ever #IYKYK Hackathon (If You Know, You Know), sponsored by Experian and HomeFree-USA. Their winning concept was a gamified app that teaches credit education and fiscal responsibility. “We talked about teaching people from ages 10 to 99. That’s how much of an impact credit has. Through our app, we hope to tell more people about credit,” said Mandelkosi Sibanda of Alabama State University.

Nicknamed the “ASU Credit Stingers,” Sibanda and his teammates Thomas Mulaisho, Takudzwa Modza and Janai Thompson earned a $40,000 scholarship for their concept, “Credit Rush.” The award-winning idea is a game where, in order to overcome obstacles, students watch a video or take a quiz about credit in order to advance to higher levels. Other features include the “Hive,” a library of credit education materials, chat, daily calendar functions and more.

The #IYKYK Hackathon challenged students to create a credit education program for their peers, including those who are not part of the credit ecosystem. The competition was the culmination of a six month program as part of the Center for Financial Advancement® (CFA) Credit Academy sponsored by Experian and HomeFree-USA that brought together more than 250 students from 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in live sessions with Experian credit education experts and self-paced content. Finalists from ASU, Fisk University, Morgan State University and Shaw University represented six countries and eight different languages. The teams presented their ideas live at Experian’s North America headquarters.

“Every team exceeded our expectations. We’re inspired by these student leaders and their commitment to driving positive change in their communities. In sharing their personal stories and experiences, they’re helping us create solutions that are culturally and generationally relevant so we can meet them where they are in their financial and credit journeys,” said Raudy Perez, Experian North America’s senior director for diversity, equity and inclusion partnerships. “This is the most transformative experience that many of these students will have in their lives,” said Gwen Garnett, HomeFree-USA Center for Financial Advancement® Executive Director. “We thank Experian for its commitment to the CFA and its scholars by helping us provide the training and tools to allow young adults and credit invisibles to understand and successfully navigate the credit ecosystem.” As part of its mission of financial inclusion and empowerment for all, Experian partners with HomeFreeUSA to provide continuing education for its housing counselors and resources for their clients. The company created the Home Preservation Grant, which supported homeowners at risk of losing their homes due to COVID-related hardships with credit education and mortgage relief. Inclusion Forward – Experian Empowering Opportunities™ harnesses Experian’s data, analytics and technology to help clients provide more affordable credit access to diverse communities. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently honored Experian with its 2022 DEI Leadership Award. To learn more about Experian’s work in diverse communities: visit www.experian.com/diversity. (BPRW)