Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Jatali Bellanton is the founder of the youth financial literacy organization Kids Who Bank. After 13 years in the finance worlds of corporate UK and America helping clients make and retain millions, she is now mainly recognized for being an award-winning author, investor and her two major creations: a finance curriculum which has gone into over 200 schools nationwide, and an annual Kidpreneur Awards honoring enterprising youth and the adults who are creating ladders for them.
Among her business accomplishments, Jatali has:
· Restructured and managed accounting departments towards multi-million-dollar profits while growing clientele and lowering costs.
· She has helped companies survive the global shift towards online business by implementing new software programs to replace outdated forms of communication
· As a financial consultant for a medical practice was able to increase profit margins by 42% in just one year.
Jatali Bellanton draws her influence in business and life from a range of renowned philosophers, revolutionaries, authors and, business moguls. She notes Nelson Mandela, Confucius, Sun Tzu, W.E.B. DuBois and Angela Bassett as people who have inspired her along the way.
In Kids Who Bank, Jatali Bellanton strives to equally inspire young children to continue following their dreams without any disadvantages obstructing the view of their futures and careers. She is passionate about combining her business expertise with her desire to give all children a fair chance to succeed in life.
In the last two years, Jatali Bellanton via her non-profit has donated over 6,000 backpacks filled with school supplies and her own books to youth worldwide to help foster education. She is committed to incorporating financial and business education into all school curricula.
Who is Jatali Bellanton and what was your motivation for starting your brand?
I have worked in finance for over 13 years. When I was having my first child, I expressed to the Vice President of the company where I worked at that time that I was going to take my full maternity leave of 3 months. She commented that she thought I was more ambitious than that and did not expect me to take the full 3 months, suggesting that I should take less time. That was a pivotal moment for me to hear her say those words.
The concept of going back afterward was one of the most difficult things and, eventually, after going back for about a month and a half, almost three months I ended up realizing it was not for me. I missed my son's first laugh and giggle and I just remember being sad. The place that I looked forward to going to became my "hell". I was typically a 9 to 5 person but I just didn't know what kind of 9 to 5 was going to allow me to be a hands-on mom and still make money. That's when the idea of entrepreneurship began. I mixed my worlds of financial literacy and children to create something I am passionate about. So, came the birth of the book "Kids Who Bank presents Kidpreneurs, Wants vs. Needs". After its release, someone said, "Hey this book should be a curriculum and go into schools". It was a great idea! I created a curriculum and before I knew it, almost 3 years in, we are in 270 schools nationwide. Now, it is less difficult to create buy-in for my program because people see all of my accolades and what my program can offer.
One day, I ran into a 5-year-old girl and her mom in the supermarket who I've taught previously. She pointed me out to her mom and said: "That's the lady that taught me couponing ". Her mother showed me her book of coupons and stated that her daughter would not let her go anywhere without her coupons and credited her daughter's knowledge and persistence to my curriculum. It just goes to show that children have the ability to grasp information as long as it is fun and engaging for them to absorb.
The motivation for creating my brand came from wanting to see a world that includes creating a base for something that will be beneficial for my child one day because I do not think it is fair for parents to have to spend thousands of dollars on private schools to receive a certain level of education. All schools both public and private schools should have access to fundamentals.
What is some advice that you would have for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps? Don't fear rejection and don't fear failure. One of the things I've learned on this journey is that you're going to fail at times and get rejected by one or two people, but it is not about the 100 no's. It is about that one yes. Every yes you get gets you closer and closer to your dream. Sometimes you're going to fail. Even with the curriculum, we had to constantly tweak it until the kids were able to grasp the information and had fun learning it and it was a huge success. So, once again don't fear failure don't fear rejection.
What is next for Jatali Bellanton?
Currently, my two partners and I are creating Ghana's first children's museum. Our goal is to not only focus on art but to offer classes such as e-commerce and technology where individuals can learn how to create, market, and sell their products without having to compromise their beliefs. Our goal is to complete this project in December 2020. However, we are traveling to Ghana in December 2019 for a fundraiser where we will have representatives from Forbes and Her Agenda to develop a write up of what we are doing.
In April 2020, we are hosting our annual Kidpreneur awards where we celebrate and honor kid entrepreneurs. Previously we have honored a 7-year old that made $100,000 selling tutus and a 9-year old that made $300,000 selling slime. We are looking forward to hosting again next year in New York City!
To find out more information about Jatali Bellanton check out the Kids Who Bank website at www.kidswhobank.com and on Instagram @kidswhobank.