As a child, I developed a really good saving culture. My mother was responsible for this. She always encouraged us (her children) to save up. I picked up the lesson quickly enough, and I saved everything. From monies given to me by relatives when they visit to money for lunch on days I don’t eat, even down to when my mum or dad said, “Use the change buy Biscuit” after running an errand.
When I look back, there was no technology to teach me how to save; neither was the concept of play to earn or work to earn even a thing. In her capacity, my mum really made an effort to ensure I understood that not all money needed to be spent immediately.
And this is why what Earlybean is doing is close to home, and it’s something we are proud to power at Bloc. I spoke with Biobele Oyibo of Earlybean to learn more about their product and how Bloc supports them in redefining financial education for kids and parents.
What is Earlybean?
Picture this: a world where children have the skills and knowledge to take charge of their financial future and build good money habits while having fun.
That's exactly what Earlybean is all about! Through a unique blend of active money management, immersive gaming, and interactive financial education, they are transforming how children and teenagers perceive and engage with money.
In our conversation, Biobele mentioned that as kids, many of us didn’t have the opportunity to know or learn about money.
“The goal was to target people who were at the early stage of their lives, being part of the process that helps them be nurtured into being holistic people”, she said. “Everyone has a starting point, which we consider the growing stages of a bean (seed). And though this can be used metaphorically, we eventually decided to stick with the name Earlybean after several iterations on the name”, she concluded.
I enjoyed the story behind the name Earlybean, but more than that, it was the “why” behind the start of Earlybean.
What led to the creation of Earlybean?
Biobele is an avid lover of Shark Tank, Dragon’s Den and similar shows where people have an opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of potential investors. In one of such episodes, a 7-year-old pitched a franchise business—other children could buy a franchise from him to run his type of business. She was taken aback by such a level of thinking from a 7-year-old, and she realized that there was a huge disparity between how this kid thought and how the average Nigerian thought about money.
She says, “There is a certain divide between the average Nigerian child and the realities of life because parents tend just to shield them”. She made an example of young kids in the States who get rewarded for completing a task, house chores, etc. And she believes these are basic ways kids get to become financially literate.
This is a common narrative for many of us who grew up without financial education, so we are never prepared for a life where we must start making financial decisions for ourselves.
She figured if this didn’t exist in the average African home, she’d set out on a mission to help young kids become financially literate before they become adults. In her words, “[These kids] are not learning it in school, neither are they learning it at home because most parents are also still trying to figure things out.”
How does Earlybean work?
“Earlybean is essentially a family bank,” Biobele said.
This differs from how our local banks operate family banking. The child is not given sole access to account management tools in local banks. So, in most cases, only the parents have decision-making power over the account. What Earlybean has done is to make it possible for the child to have access to manage the account alongside his/her parents.
This co-banking feature allows child(ren) and parent(s) to manage the accounts created together. “Without a system that allows us to enable co-banking, it will be impossible for kids to own accounts,” she said.
Speaking about Bloc’s contribution to the solution Earlybean has created, she said, “One of the things Bloc has enabled us do is have the parents create an account as account custodians and leveraging on their KYC to create sub-accounts for the children, through which they as parents can also see how the kids are banking.”
This allows the parents to be custodians [account managers] of the children’s accounts but also gives the children the responsibility of managing their accounts directly under the supervision of their parents.
This redefines the “I gave my mum money to keep for me” practice many of us grew up with.
Building with Bloc
Earlybean was one of the first companies to join Bloc when we launched a private beta of our product in 2022. “What I liked when we started the conversation— Bloc, and Earlybean were building and launching simultaneously. It felt like we were a part of each other’s growth”, Biobele said. “Also, one thing stands out; Bloc always finds a way to accommodate us. They give us firsthand accommodation, which has been a beautiful experience.” She concluded.
“From creating sub-accounts to enabling the card feature for the sub-accounts, Bloc has shown intricate interest in how we grow as a business. I see Bloc as family, almost like 2 kids playing and growing together. We have had other companies reach out to become our BaaS partner, but the decision is unanimous from my team; we can’t leave Bloc”, she said.
“At Bloc, Earlybean feels seen,” she exclaimed as we brought our conversation to a close.
We love building with our partners. Building with Bloc means you have another team who fully believes in you and is willing to bet their resources on the success of your solution. This is what we do for Earlybean beyond providing custom infrastructure that meets their every need.
We believe children are the leaders of tomorrow, and we are committed to powering a solution that ensures they learn a key aspect of being leaders of tomorrow—finance management.