For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statement”, I had the opportunity to interview Kyla Bolden, Co-Founder and CEO of Wiz Kid Coding.
Wiz Kid Coding is a purpose-driven company that specializes in providing coding and STEM education programs to children ages 3 to 16. They are committed to making sure that all kids can acquire coding skills as an avenue to enhance their ability to think critically, improve their current academic performance, expand their future career options and ultimately have fun! In the past year, they have established coding clubs in over 25 schools and organizations, had 4 summer camps and had over 2,000 children across the GTA participate in their Programs.
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
Although I only graduated University a year ago, I have had the opportunity to be around Start-ups and growing companies from a young age, this allowed me to observe and learn about how to develop a sound financial plan for Wiz Kid Coding. Despite this, I think the hardest part in dealing with any businesses’ finances is how to plan for if your projected sales or partnerships do not go as planned. Like any business owner, I believe in my company – not just from a fiscal standpoint but I believe in Wiz Kid Coding’s mission and commitment to preparing young learners to succeed in our growing digitized economy. I have seen first-hand the proud smiles of students who write their first line of code and how their newfound confidence has helped them do better in their studies in general; because of this, it is hard to not believe that our camps are going to fill up and our student intake is going to climb. However, I think in order to adequately protect and prepare your company for unforeseen obstacles, you have to know what the worst case scenario will be and have a plan B to mitigate against potential losses.
Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?
In the beginning of Wiz Kid Coding, we decided to completely bootstrap the company instead of raising capital before we started. I believe this was a smart and appropriate decision for Wiz Kid Coding. We were able to mitigate debt and really focus on building a sound curriculum and developing an empowering company culture without having the stress of having to pay back our investors. However, I wish I understood or had been told that not raising capital meant that we would have slower growth in the beginning due to the lack of money we would be able to spend on advertising and marketing, if I had this information I wouldn’t have felt as frustrated in the beginning. Every company has its own beginning and growth rate and it is important for business owners not to panic, keep working hard, and understand that if you continue to make positive and strategic choices for your company – it will grow.
Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?
Wiz Kid Coding is a purpose driven social enterprise. Our mission is to make sure that every kid, regardless of zip code, race, or how much money their family has, has access to our fun and innovative coding and STEM programming. We do this by developing affordable programs, giving scholarships for our STEM Camp, working with Schools in high priority neighbourhoods, and partnering with corporations so that students can come to our program for free. However, social enterprises are a relatively new concept. I would like to learn more about how to adequately convey to investors and consumers the benefit of supporting social enterprise business models like our company. I would also like to have a deeper understanding of alternative capital raising models, as ultimately capital is a tool that if used wisely can accelerate the growth of any business.