Thursday, November 17, 2016

SpringFour Chosen For WiSTEM

Chicago-based technology incubator 1871 hosts WiSTEM, a unique program designed to cultivate success and opportunities for women in technology. The 12 companies and their founders began a sixteen-week curriculum in September. Twelve women led companies, including SpringFour make up the third cohort of WiSTEM, 1871’s “The fundamental goal of WiSTEM has always been to produce, support, and positively impact the lives of women entrepreneurs,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “WiSTEM has surpassed and continues to surpass these goals by cultivating an environment that balances business and community and fosters opportunities across a wide spectrum. We are excited to welcome this new cohort of women to WiSTEM and the 1871 community.”
A focus on fostering opportunity for women entrepreneurs in technology has been a key objective for 1871. As part of the WiSTEM effort, it is customary for 1871 to welcome women business leaders to share their stories with the entire community. United States Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, First Lady Diana Rauner, Springboard Ventures founder Kay Koplovitz, uBeam founder Meredith Perry, Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and Digital Citizen Fund co-founder and CEO Roya Mahboob have all recently visited 1871. 1871 has made it a point to connect with other women-led organizations such as Ms. Tech, Women Tech Founders and Lesbians Who Tech to create and host events centered around women entrepreneurs. Additionally, it was recently announced that 1871 would be the host location for Reboot Academy, an innovative organization that trains women for re-entry into the technology workforce.
“It has always been my mission to inspire and empower women entrepreneurs, “ says Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff. “The new cohort will undoubtedly help shape America’s culture, economy, and future at large.”
The members of the third WiSTEM class are:
Neurocern – Anitha Rao, MD, Co-Founder and CEO
Recordly – Anna Maikova,  Co-Founder, Yaryna Mykhyalyshyn, Co-Founder, Sintia Radu, Co-Founder
Wekaw – Angela Wang, Founder, and CEO
WeSolv – Stella Ashaolu, Founder, and CEO
ClassCrasher – Marylynne Schwartz, Founder + Ellena Berger, Co-Founder
TheSocReports – Carol Fowler, Co-Founder, and CEO
FetchFind – Jamie Migdal, Founder, and CEO
SpringFour, Rochelle Gorey, Co-Founder, and CEO
Taylored Wines – Rachel Portell, Founder, and CEO
Kaizen Health – Mindi Knebel, Founder, and CEO
VirtualKEY – Resha Shroff, Founder, and CSO
Olfactif – Tara Swords, Co-Founder, and CEO



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fixing Credit, Financial Issues Starts With the Right Coach

James Dunning, Transformance
Time and again we hear a familiar story: Tales of hard-working Americans who are overwhelmed by debt, have little or nothing in savings, and are on the verge of disaster when the next emergency strikes. The individuals and families are often stuck in a downward economic spiral due to poor decisions and unforeseen circumstances.

Recent studies support what we hear: More than 40 percent of the U.S. population lives in “liquid asset poverty” and 30 percent routinely use non-bank borrowing. That’s 140 million people who are struggling to keep up with rising costs and often borrowing against future income to make ends meet. Another frightening fact is that more than half of the U.S. population has sub-prime credit – which means they’re paying even more than they should in high interest rates.
Making more money isn’t necessarily the answer. A recent survey from GoBankingRates.com revealed that even individuals making six figures don’t have as much saved up as they should. Too many of us are spending more than we should or over-using our credit cards – regardless of how much we make.

At Transformance, we stress the need for consumers to better understand their credit scores, to gain knowledge in how credit and budgeting works, and learn basic steps to increasing their financial stability. We do this through one-on-one coaching sessions, workplace seminars, and tailored webinars. We also disseminate a lot of material – both online and in print – for free, so we can empower those in our community to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families. Transformance Navigators can also steer clients to local services we access through SpringFour.

But setting things right financially isn’t simply about finding the money you need to pay down mounting credit card debt or tucking a few extra dollars away for that inevitable “rainy day.” One of the things we’ve learned from the stories we’ve heard is that many situations are a result of poor financial behavior – behavioral habits that have been passed from previous generations, often creating a legacy of poverty or crises.

When individuals connect with our non-profit organization, we immediately schedule a coaching session and begin to look beyond just the immediate issues. Transformance clients and our certified coaches will:

·       Discuss life-changing events or triggers
·       Complete a detailed review of the client’s income, expenses, and bills
·       Review existing credit report and score, comparing past behavior and discussing tips for improvement
·       Discuss savings goals
·       Discuss debt reduction
·       Create a spending plan, reviewing options based on the client’s financial situation
·       Prioritize goals and finished with a Client Action Plan, detailing the next steps needed to make those goals a reality

Walking hand-in-hand with those who need help, our agency has seen a positive change in the lives of many. On average, Transformance raises credit scores by 61 points and lowers debt by $580 per month. We’ve helped our clients achieve this by creating relationships, meeting with them one on one (or online, if they prefer), and encouraging them to make lasting behavioral changes.
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SOURCES: Assets and Opportunity Scorecard 2015; FINRA Investor Education Foundation National; Bloomberg.com

Author

JAMES DUNNING is the digital marketing manager, creative director, and storyteller at Transformance. A former newspaper journalist, James has worked in communication roles with non-profit and education organizations for the past 15 years.


Transformance Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1974, and is a United Way Service Provider as well as a HUD-approved multistate housing counseling and education organization. The agency is formally accredited every four years by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Families (COA) to ensure compliance with top industry standards and best practices. The agency has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, with satellite offices in Arlington; Austin; Amarillo and Ardmore, Oklahoma.



Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why this Partnership Has Us Excited

Last week we announced a new partnership with LendUp ( http://www.springfour.cc/news.asp)
that will allow LendUp customers to access SpringFour’s local resources that may help them address financial challenges that they are facing.

This partnership represents a new type of subscriber for SpringFour and we could not be more excited. LendUp, a well regarded player in the fintech space, is a lender that is providing an alternative to pay day loans.  They are using technology to offer short term loans to those that need help in a transparent and innovative way.

LendUp provides loans for customers that typically have credit scores below 680 and cannot qualify for a traditional bank loan. The unique component of LendUp’s loan process is that, in states where the LendUp Ladder is available, customers have an opportunity to move up to better loan options as they pay back their loan and also have the opportunity to build credit histories and take advantage of free financial education and counseling sessions.

By partnering with SpringFour, LendUp’s customers can now  find additional savings opportunities to address financial challenges through referrals to local non-profit and government agencies that offer programs and resources that may be of help in such areas as utilities, prescription drugs savings and childcare resources.

This partnership makes sense because both LendUp and SpringFour understand the importance of addressing the root cause of financial hardship. It’s not enough to just provide a product or service that funds that shortfall or meets the immediate, short-term need. Ultimately, for a customer to be successful in paying off that loan and moving forward on the path to financial health, the very reason for that loan needs to be mitigated. SpringFour helps to do so by curating resources that address many of the reasons that often precipitate the need for a short term loan—such as job loss, health crisis or unexpected home repair.  LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. We are happy to join them in that mission.



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About LendUp

LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. It offers safe, transparent products that expand access, lower costs, and provide credit building opportunities for the more than 80 million Americans who currently have limited options within the traditional banking system because of a low credit score. LendUp is located in downtown San Francisco and is backed by prominent Silicon Valley investors including Y-Combinator, Google Ventures, Susa Ventures, Data Collective, Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz Seed Fund, Kapor Capital, QED, Eagle Cliff Investors, Yuri Milner and Thomvest Ventures, plus other highly regarded angels and entrepreneurs.