April 11, 2016
After revealing March Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Gina Clarke, founder of Equilibrium Learning, LLC!
Read on to learn all about Allison and her business.
WN: Tell us about your business and how you got started.
DB: I had the idea since high school but I never acted on it. I never took it seriously and didn’t really believe in myself enough to try it, I always talked myself out of doing anything with it. It was when I went to see the doctor and she told me that I might have lupus that really pushed me to go for it. I’m young and I know that there are people who live well into old age with it, but I had an aunt who died pretty quickly after she was diagnosed, so it really hit home. Even though I’m glad to say all came back ok, it changed my perspective on life and really helped me to emotionalize and give meaning to “living life to the fullest” and “life’s too short”. So now I’m on a mission to do everything I ever wanted to do, including Equilibrium.
WN: Was it your educational background that inspired you to start Equilibrium?
DB: Yes definitely! I remember when I was in school my favorite subject was Math. I was good at everything concerning Math and caught on to new concepts quickly. At the same time, I HATED English. I felt like it was a waste of time, I had no interest in the class and felt it was pointless. I knew how to read, write and speak coherently and that was all I cared about. Because of this, I struggled in English. I did well in it, but I still struggled because I just didn’t care enough for the class to really WANT to put in any effort. But when I was in high school, I met an English teacher who helped me to see English in a new light: She taught us new words by turning them into Math problems. Every week we would be introduced to a new prefix, root or suffix and for every day of that week we would be presented with a new word that contained that prefix, root or suffix. It was such a small gesture, but it appealed to my natural thought processes (logic, calculation, etc) and my natural need to “figure things out”. At that moment I was so engaged in the class, and it helped me to take an interest in the subject as a whole because when I would read or be presented with new words, my first instinct would be to break them down into math problems and figure out their meanings. But this got me thinking: if this one small change in perspective made such a huge impact on my interest in a subject (that at one time I literally hated), what if we could somehow do the same for ALL subjects?
WN: What if you don’t know what intelligence type a student is? Will Equilibrium help identify what their type is?
DB: Yes. Equilibrium will initially test the student to determine:
a: their learning style (based on a few psychological/personality questions)
b: their favorite subject/subject they do best in
c: their level of competency in each subject
Based on the above 3 criteria, Equilibrium will not only be able to determine the level of competency (grade level) a student is currently, but also what the student’s learning profile is and how best to present information to them.
WN: Do you have any partners in this venture?
DB: Because Equilibrium is so new, I currently do not have any business partners, but I am looking! I do have mentors who have run businesses before and have experience in the education industry who provide me with immense support.
WN: Do you know when this software will become available?
DB: We’re still in R&D phase, but we’re shooting for Fall of 2017 at the ABSOLUTE latest.
WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?
DB: I would tell them the obvious: network, promote your business as much as you can, create a business plan, learn how to live on a budget (you will NEED this skill), get a mentor (micromentor.org is pretty good if you don’t know anyone), etc. But I’d also tell them to do what scares you. Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. For the longest I was so afraid of other people laughing at me, as much as I hated to admit it. Get used to rejection; put yourself in situations where you know you’ll be rejected (or that there’s a high chance) so that you lose fear of it. Everyday I make it a habit of asking for something for free when I order something. The worst that would happen is that they’d say no and I’d just take what I paid for, but every now and again I’d get a yes, surprisingly. You never know what can happen when you really try and put yourself out there, so just do it!
Thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.
And if you’d like to vote for Gina to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.