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Iranian Jewish Life in Los Angeles: Past and Present

Saba Soomekh, Author

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Tina Hay: Napkin Finance

What is Napkin Finance?
“People in this world of complex ideas need a guide.”

Napkin Finance is a multimedia company that teaches people complex financial concepts using the format of napkins. The napkins can be both printed or played out interactively in short films. Each napkin video lasts 30 seconds or more and explains a financial topic, such as building credit, buying a new home, starting a business, and so much more. This company is Tina’s third startup after her two previous businesses, City Tripping and CardBlanc.

The idea for Napkin Finance emerged while Tina was attending business school at Harvard University. Tina’s habit of sketching everything down turned into a business concept. She says her idea of using a napkin resonated with people, but if she had not gone to business school, this venture would have never started. The whole company was a learning process for both Tina and her viewers. She learned that many people did not understand the complex aspects of money management, as it was overwhelming, and found that using a napkin made it easier to break down those complicated ideas into the most basic form.

In 2015, Tina began a collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama, after she attended an event at the White House for a social entrepreneurship project that she was working on alongside Napkin Finance. Tina shared the Obamas' interest in and emphasis on helping students seize opportunities for financial aid, especially in helping students understand the FAFSA in the context of their Reach Higher Platform. Tina was subsequently asked to create a FAFSA “napkin” that was posted on the White House site and gained enormous praise. This positive feedback lead to Tina collaborating with the former First Lady’s Better Make Room Initiative, creating a whole course of “napkins” for students on college finances, which included guides to paying for college and understanding student loans. Her work with Michelle Obama was an honor for Tina and a great way for Napkin Finance to get visibility and credibility.

Tina hopes to expand Napkin Finance into other hard to grasp concepts like healthcare and more in the future.
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