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A group of Penn students is encouraging local high-school teams to use social media to learn more about the world of business.

Knowledge@Wharton High School — which is part of the Knowledge@Wharton network, an online journal that features business-related resources — launched the Philly Social Media Entrepreneurship Challenge in early December.

KWHS was founded in March 2011 to promote financial literacy among high-school students, as well as encourage entrepreneurship and a better understanding of business fundamentals.

The challenge — which comes to a close today — was open to all high-school students in the Philadelphia area. Winners will be announced Jan. 27.

The recent competition called for participants to develop and execute a social media plan to attract more users to KWHS. The winning teams will receive an invitation to attend Leadership Day at the Wharton School on Feb. 11, where they will participate in team-building activities and will have the opportunity to network with Wharton students and representatives from the office of undergraduate admissions.

Scott Stimpfel, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education and director of educational initiatives at KWHS, emphasized the significance of spreading financial literacy.

“It is extremely important to do so, especially in these difficult economic times,” he said.

For this past month’s challenge, Stimpfel explained that each team of high-school students was assigned a unique URL to measure the amount of people who visited their respective social media websites.

Throughout the competition, the KWHS intern team — which consists of 12 Penn students — helped advise the high-school students.

Wharton sophomore Ellen Fu, who is part of the intern team, said witnessing tangible progress has made the group’s hard work pay off.

“The interns are active at every step, and we’re the ones who carry out the projects,” she said. “It’s really exciting seeing your project succeed.”

Wharton sophomore Rebecca Greenblatt, another KWHS intern, added that “one of our main goals is to create challenges and design business plans to get as many people to sign up.”

Stimpfel noted the dedication of the student interns.

“Students are driving these initiatives, [and] that’s what’s fantastic,” he said. “A lot of them are taking their experiences from high school and things they wish they had learned and implementing them at KWHS.”

Once the group’s current competition comes to a close, he added, KWHS plans to continue its ongoing goals of expansion beyond the Philadelphia area. For example, KWHS will extend the Social Media Entrepreneurship Challenge to other cities in order to generate more users.

By the end of 2013, Stimpfel hopes that more than two million high-school teachers and students will use the organization’s resources.

Wharton and College junior Valentina Zarya — another intern and a former Daily Pennsylvanian staff writer — stressed the importance of learning finance at a young age.

“If we start at an early age and learn finance earlier, we can be aware of what finance exactly is, what an investment is and be more careful in the future,” she said.

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