MintFamily

MintFamily with Beth Kobliner: The MyMoneyAppUp Challenge

Mobile communications and social networking concept

Calling all entrepreneurs, tech wizards, students … anyone, really! You’re invited to enter the MyMoneyAppUp Challenge, a contest to find and fund new ideas for apps that will help people improve their finances.

Launched last week by the Treasury Department, along with the Doorways to Dreams Fund and the Center for Financial Services Innovation (two companies that help low-income people achieve financial prosperity), the challenge seeks apps that “help consumers make smart financial choices, access high-quality financial products and services, and ultimately control and shape their financial futures,” according to the contest announcement.

Aside from helping people, you could win up to $10,000!

Apps to help young people and families become money savvy.

Obviously, you already love money management tools like Mint.com, so what other apps would help you handle money in your everyday life? Better yet, what apps would help your kids or family become money savvy?

I urge you to explore one topic in particular: apps that help young people find ways to make college more affordable and navigate the tricky world of student loans. With Americans buckling under more than $1 trillion in student loan debt, this area begs for innovation.

The Challenge presents a great opportunity. New research by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop shows that kids can learn from educational apps, so now seems like a great time to use the technology kids love to teach them about money.

How to enter the MyMoneyAppUp Challenge

I encourage you to enter an idea or design for a family finance app! Here’s how:

  • The IdeaBank: Whether you’re a regular Joe or a leader or advocate in the financial field, you’re invited to share your idea in 140 characters or less. Then, it’s on to a crowd-sourced vote, where members of the public will choose their favorites. (A quick note: I love that the government is embracing crowdsourcing! Not only does this level the playing field so that any citizen can contribute, but it also means the contest will yield apps that people really want and will use. Democracy in action!) The top 10 ideas go to a panel of judges. Winners will get cash prizes from $250 to $1,000.
  • App Design Challenge: Individuals, teams, and companies are welcome to submit a design proposal for an app. Just complete the online submission form detailing your design and how it will improve financial capability. No idea where to start? You can even submit designs for other people’s IdeaBank submissions, which are being showcased here. The judges will choose the winners, who will be awarded anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000.

If you win, you may have a chance to bring your app to life! Winners of the IdeaBank and App Design Challenge may enter the FinCapDev Competition to vie for cash prizes, access to expert advice, and other resources.

Entries are due by August 12, so start brainstorming. Best of luck!

© 2012 Beth Kobliner, All Rights Reserved

Beth Kobliner is a personal finance commentator and journalist, the author of the New York Times bestseller “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties,” and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. Visit her at bethkobliner.com, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.