About us

Changing the way young
people learn about finance

About us

Changing the way young
people learn about finance


About us

More about who we are

Research suggests it is never too early to learn money management skills. And it is never too late to start learning.

Start Smart teaches students about financial literacy, empowering them to make wise financial decisions for themselves. We have gradually expanded our offerings to cater to as wide a number of students as possible, customising our workshops according to their needs, interests and levels of learning.

Our original program launched in 2007 and consisted of a range of workshops aimed at secondary school students. Each workshop was tailored towards a topic of direct relevance to secondary students’ daily lives and experiences: Earning, Saving, Spending and Investing.

Following the success of our Secondary program, the Commonwealth Bank decided to extend Start Smart to primary schools in 2010. For the Primary workshops, Start Smart consulted specialists in primary education, cognitive development, instructional design and financial literacy.

The Primary program consists of six stages, each of which corresponds to a different level of learning. The workshops are engaging as well as educational, featuring characters such as Captain Cash and Coach Cash, who represents all the temptations to spend money needlessly.

The Next Gen journey continues with two augmentations of Start Smart delivered to schools in an agile ‘test-and-learn’ pilot. These augmentations were designed to deepen and extend the program’s impact; they were based on output from the Commonwealth Bank’s Innovation Lab project and designed in-line with the findings from Commonwealth Bank’s 10 Principles research project, an evidence-based piece of research designed to identify ‘what works’ in financial education interventions. The augmentations were:

Start Smart Plus
A branded ‘Start Smart pop-up installation’ in school libraries with three new financial education resources for Year 5 students – a book, a board game, and an interactive digital experience.

Trialled both in-class and in-library with over 400 students and 15 teachers, across 8 schools, in addition to in-bank playtesting with 20 CBA team member’s kids, “Start Smart Plus” proved to be popular all round.
Teachers commented on the uniqueness of the board game and library installation as education resources, reflecting very positively on the ‘social’ aspects of learning and their appeal to different types of learners. With students able to recall lessons that they had learned and discuss how to apply those lessons in their everyday lives, “Start Smart Plus” is a promising design for furthering educational effectiveness.

Your Start Smart
A Start Smart customisation process in which facilitators worked with teachers to formulate a custom ‘Start Smart’ session based on their students’ needs. Delivered to more than 300 primary and secondary students over 19 sessions, and in collaboration with 12 teachers,
“Your Start Smart” was enjoyed by teachers and students. A key finding was that facilitator-led customisation created an engaging, relevant and enjoyable education experience,
although it also revealed that facilitators in the core Start Smart program already effectively tailor content to students in order to build such experiences.

In 2017, Start Smart became a Learning Destination with Children’s University Australia to create a voluntary extension activity for students between 7-14 years old. Find out more about Children’s University here.

Start Smart

Start Smart