Sarah Kathuria, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is the co-founder of “The Wallet Project,” an international organization that provides a safe, virtual educational platform for middle school-aged girls who aspire to learn about business. The organization hosts quarterly interactive workshops where members can share their ideas in discussions, answer questions about given topics, create design strategies and learn about gaining an entrepreneurial strategy and a money mindset.
“In middle school, I had no exposure to the business field, so I had no prior knowledge about it when I started high school,” Kathuria said. “This made me think [about] how many girls nationwide have no exposure to the field, which motivated me to change that fact.”
After being inspired to take action, Kathuria and her friend from Minnesota, Kirthi Manivannan, launched The Wallet Project in October of 2020. Since then, they have created a website, interacted directly with middle schoolers and hosted a workshop series.
“In our first cohort of students for the workshop, we had 10 girls from the nation participate,” Kathuria said. “We are currently planning to host another cohort of our workshop in February [and] it is estimated to have 20 plus girls. We already have sign-ups from places like Australia and India.”
Through these cohorts, Kathuria has gained insight from her organization members. After meeting girls from all around the world and actively interacting with them, she has learned how to understand different perspectives regarding money and how to communicate with younger girls about the business field.
“It’s amazing to me to see how differently each person thinks and comes up with ideas,” Kathuria said. “It really solidifies the fact that ideas are endless.”
Along with hosting cohorts, Kathuria and Manivannan also publish YouTube videos for their organization. Every month, they interview a different female entrepreneur and ask them questions that their workshop members may have about entrepreneurial strategies. Doing this makes it possible for members to get a first-hand response from somebody in the field.
“[Interviewing] successful female entrepreneurs for our YouTube channel has been really significant for me,” Kathuria said. “I was not only able to learn firsthand about the struggles and experiences of being an entrepreneur, but I was also able to gain so much inspiration from them.”
Within the past three months, the initiative has come a long way from where it started. Moreover, the co-founders have multiple goals for the near future of their project. These include hosting more frequent workshops, gathering a larger audience and interviewing more successful businesswomen.
“We would even love to host additional special edition workshops on specific business topics, such as financial literacy and passive income, that we think are essential to becoming accomplished in the field,” Kathuria said. “We also want to learn more about the experiences of our interviewees.”
Their members have established knowledge about the various career options in the business field. Even if they do not wish to pursue a career in this area, members learn many vital life skills that are beneficial in any career path.
“It feels really good to know that we have created something that’s making an impact, no matter how small it is,” Kathuria said.
Currently, Kathuria aspires to pursue economics in college and plans to keep running this organization with Manivannan in the years to come. Eventually, they plan to modify their target audience to include high school students along with their current middle school audience.