The financial world is changing, and the pattern of financial decision-making is a patchwork, but Meaghan Daly, Founder, and President of forwarding Vision Games claim that it is possible to teach risk evaluation and decision-making. Forward Vision Games was launched in 2012; it is grounded on the idea of comprehensibility of contemporary financial strategies. It provides games for students that can create their own financial stories over ready-made scenarios.
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These games serve as a training space mainly oriented at Aboriginal and First Nation youths. In 2013, Ms. Daly’s business has been dubbed a startup of the week by Calgary Herald; in her interview, the entrepreneur has shared her ideas about financial literacy and the challenges she had met on her path (Calgaryherald, 2013). On January 20, I had a chance to meet Ms. Daly in person and listen to her story.
Ms. Daly has kindly agreed to speak before us to make us understand the current situation in business literacy in Canada and share her views on it. She has also proved a great source of motivation, her story is a real one of a successful entrepreneur, not simply fitting into a niche on the market but creating a whole new segment, all by herself. Ms. Daly was presented appropriately; her qualities as a social enterprise entrepreneur and her contributions to people’s understanding of the exclusionary business system were mentioned. She was referred to as a social innovator through business, which also seemed relevant.
Ms. Daly opened her speech in a semi-formal manner since this was the character of our meeting; she talked about what she did before she founded Forward Vision Games, which was working as an equity trader in Toronto. She described her experience in working in the sphere of finance during the 2008 crisis and pointed out the practice of putting forward one idea during a television interview and doing exactly the opposite.
The 2008 crisis was chaotic mainly because people and governments did not understand financial risks. When Ms. Daly realized that people’s education does not influence their financial knowledge, the access to financial markets is always open, and people do not know how to make financial decisions, which results in trouble, it was a turning point for her own business to be born. She started volunteering to teach people to make financial decisions. Due to Ms. Daly’s passion for financial literacy and her interest in Aboriginal and First Nation issues, she decided to dedicate her enterprise to the problems of social exclusion from a business.
Numerous studies refer to the issues of systemic discrimination in business and employment, where economical and racial issues are deeply intertwined. Discrimination may affect both the immigrant and Aboriginal populations. The study by Galabuzi (2006) is deliberately devoted to non-First-Nation discriminatory practices, instead of focusing on immigrants. Nevertheless, the text contains some notions and ideas crucial for understanding the reasons racialized population is prone to differential treatment in business and employment. The author asserts that business and social strata in Canada still has the form of “vertical mosaics,” in which Aboriginal and other racialized peoples are at the very bottom (Galabuzi, 2006, p. 32).
Conventional reasoning tries to explain the inadequacy in business involvement and employment through the factors of acclimatization that tends to evaporate the differences over time. This, however, cannot provide a relevant background for the issue since the situation does not change, and many vulnerable racialized community members with higher education can be seen driving taxies (Galabuzi, 2006).
Meaghan Daly’s enterprise is focused upon the other side of this situation, which is the Aboriginal and First-Nation Exclusion from business, not immigrants. However, as she points out, the governmental and social attitudes towards such groups are practically the same: they are racialized and not given a chance to learn proper financial decision-making to fit into the Canadian business system, which is why Forward Vision Games is oriented at building the Aboriginal students’ financial capacity.
Another issue that Ms. Daly refers to in her speech is homelessness among the Aboriginal population of Canada as another key factor of social – and business – exclusion. She mentions cases of Aboriginal people accommodating as many as 13 people in a two-bedroom apartment and boiling their water due to the lack of clear water to drink. She asserts that, on average, Aboriginal people in Canada are more likely to go to jail than finish high school. The reason for it may be the ethnocentric stance of Canadian society that “feeds” otherness into Aboriginal people.
The distinction between people who can and who cannot count as part of Canadian society lies entirely within the domain of rationality. Those who do not fit into the paradigm of a White Canadian, are automatically regarded as temporary, “foreign” workers, despite their background and history (Sharma, 2008). The ethnocentric attitudes are followed by conflicts between Aboriginal and Euro-Canadians and increased violence towards Aboriginal Canadians (Social Inequality in Canada, 2004).
Thus, the main reason for social exclusion appears to be the generic discrimination that “other” (i.e., non-White Canadians) experience. The groups of people prone to such discrimination consist of Aboriginal and First-Nation people as well as immigrant workers. Ms. Daly does not suggest any solutions that involve changes on the governmental level. Indeed, an intelligent person like herself seeing the social reaction to minor governmental decisions in favor of the “others,” which is strictly negative, can predict the course of further changes.
It is most likely that the changes will not bring any justice in the immediate future. I suppose that this is the reason Ms. Daly has chosen another way to help the Aboriginal people and fix the situation. She has decided to educate the Aboriginals during their studentship to increase their competitive value as finance experts and raise their chances of being accepted by the Canadian business market. She realizes that to achieve these goals, students need to be explained some basic notions and improve their skills.
As our society is becoming more and more consumerist, they have to learn to make financial decisions. They should also be aware of financial risks, their consequences, and the ways of taking risks to succeed. She points out the importance of the students’ awareness of the challenges of a social enterprise, or any other enterprise for this matter. In her interview with the Calgary Herald, she emphasizes the difficulties of raising funds. She states that companies engaged in the issues of Canadian Aboriginals do not receive the acknowledgment they deserve. The importance of educating Aboriginal students is not widely understood and accepted in Canadian society, which makes it hard to get investors interested and committed.
Ms. Daly points out that there is sometimes a necessity to make new paths because the enterprises can differ too much from the existing ones, which is what she had to do (Calgaryherald, 2013). She considers it crucial that the students are familiar with the notion and the situations that speak of financial success to understand their financial capacity. Finally, students have to learn to see and use opportunities proportionate to their financial capacity to eventually reach success. The solution to the problem of educating students came in the form of cloud-based Financial Simulation games.
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Ms. Daly claims that the games engage the students in simulations where they are encouraged to make their own decisions basing them on different financial scenarios. They measure and develop the students’ financial skills and provide instant feedback. Relying on real financial cases, the games can teach students to evaluate risks and their financial capacity. The students also learn about the capital markets, their goals, and objectives, the nature of their operations, etc. They need to know how broad this market category is and be aware of the recent computerization of the trade, of the difference between primary and secondary markets, and the way shares move from one to the other.
They also learn the kinds of participants that the capital market holds and the relation of the capital market to a nation’s economy. The students understand the value and implications of capital, the importance of having instant access to it, and making reasonable decisions. They learn that they are free to cooperate with their partners of choice, raise funds, start-up their enterprises, and be aware of the challenges of social entrepreneurship to be able to meet them squarely. For instance, they can develop their performance measurement scheme, learn where the revenue comes from, and think of their revenue strategies suitable for for-profit and non-profit businesses.
Finally, they will grasp the idea of scale and will be able to rethink its global context into something more local and less racialized, set tangible collective goals (e.g., create a business that handles a problem and finds a solution to it, instead of going big and hopes the business outlasts it). In short, the games developed under the auspices of forwarding Vision Games will make Aboriginal students group a valuable asset to the Canadian business market in the future, enabling them to overcome social and business exclusion.
To sum it up, the study of literature made me think that the primary reason for business and social exclusion of Aboriginal and First-Nation people from the Canadian market and society is non-economical. It consists of ethnocentric inclinations shared by the members of the White Canadian part of the society and the idea of white people’s supremacy. It is rather humbling to ascertain that such inclinations should attribute the society of such a well-developed and prosperous country.
However, the speech delivered by Ms. Daly and the additional information I have come to know from her interview has enlightened me on the subject of business and social exclusion. I have thought over the function of forwarding Vision Games and the way Ms. Daly adequately evaluated the government’s non-responsiveness to these matters. Thus I concluded that this remarkable woman’s business is aimed at eradicating the exclusion through the empowerment of Aboriginal and First-Nation youths, which is, indeed, above and beyond any compliments.
Calgaryherald. (2013). Startup of the Week – Forward Vision Games. Calgary Herald. Web.
Galabuzi, G. (2006). Canada’s Economic Apartheid: The Social Exclusion of Racialized Groups in the New Century. Toronto, Ontario: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Sharma, N. (2008). Home(lessness) and the Naturalization of “Difference”. In S. Kwok & M.
A. Wallis (Eds.), Daily Struggles: The Deepening Racialization and Feminization of Poverty in Canada (pp. 113-128). Toronto, Ontario: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Social Inequality in Canada: Patterns, Problems, and Policies (4th ed.). (2004). Don Mills, Ontario: Pearson Education Canada.