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IN SESSION: Suffolk students spread financial literacy through startup business

What started as a curiosity for the teens snowballed into a business. The group recently began a startup with the goal of teaching finance to their peers.

SUFFOLK, Va. — Some recent high school graduates in Suffolk have taken control of their financial future and now they want to help others do the same.

The five friends from Nansemond River High School discovered last Fall they had a common interest in becoming financially literate.

“We started off basically cold-calling stockbrokers and financial consultants, like, ‘Hey, can we sit down with you and can you tell us about this information?’ And they’re like, ‘Sure,’” said Ian Oakley.

What started as a curiosity snowballed into a business. The group recently began a startup called “Financial Literacy is Power,” or FLIP, with the goal of teaching the world of finance to their peers.

“It was so fun because we were getting exposed to all this new information,” Oakley said. “It was like, ‘Wow, if we need to know this, why doesn’t anybody else need to know this?’”

The group consists of Ian Oakley, Jaden Perkins, Clarence Sellers, Kori Riddick, and Darrin Lilly.

Each individual in the group brings a different set of expertise. Some take interest in the stock market, while others appreciate economics, real estate, and business startups.

“Our main goal was to spread the importance of financial literacy throughout our community and amongst our peers,” said Kori Riddick.

“They don’t realize how important it is in life, so we wanted to come together to try and bridge that gap,” said Darrin Lilly.

“We just want to spread the importance, you know, of how important it is to be financially free,” said Jaden Perkins.

Before registering their business as an LLC, they sought advice from the marketing teacher at Nansemond River High School, Candace Credle.

“I wish it was something that was done when I was in school,” Credle said. “They want to better themselves and also saw a need within our school system and within our communities to help individuals their age -- 16 and older -- to become literate about their finances and making proper decisions.”

The teens plan to keep FLIP a growing business despite going to different colleges this Fall.

“Since we’re all going to different schools, we all want to branch out and bring those different crowds together to inform them to get a bigger audience,” Clarence Sellers said.

The group will be speaking at the Hampton Roads Convention Center on July 27 about financial literacy during the Hampton Roads Expo Extravaganza. You can also follow them on Instagram @flip.financial for videos and posts with financial tips.