Ottawa teens' board game wins national competition

Two Ottawa high school students who created a fun and educational board game with its goal of building a debt-free business have won first place in a national competition.

The game is called Breadwinner. It starts with a roll of the dice, then you multiply the number by 1,000 to equal your debt. The goal is to build a bakery with four assets, or equipment, that runs debt-free.

It’s a valuable lesson, one that was created by Canterbury high school students Valentina Mounzer and Danika Hindson. Every detail is carefully crafted; there are rules, trivia cards and cash to buy items.

“Whether you’re interested in business or finance, these are things you should know before you enter the real world,” says Mounzer. “It’s been overlooked, especially with people our age or younger.”

Breadwinner was an entry to the My Money, My Future competition, challenging students age 14 to 18, to create new tools and resources to help young Canadians understand how money works.

“We found out about this contest in our business class,” says Hindson. “We wanted to do something different, have something more physical kids could play with aside from being on technology all the time.”

There were more than 3,000 submissions from across Canada of games, apps, and courses. The competition was organized by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education. Breadwinner took home first place.

“The creation of the board, the creation of the cards, the creation of questions, the rules, the regulations, the kind of learning that took place within the game is really quite outstanding,” said CFEE president Gary Rabbior. “It’s not a simple surface-type game—you really do learn through the experience, and it’s one of the things that attracted the judges.”

First place also comes with a $10,000 prize. Mounzer and Hindson plan to save some cash for school, as well as other lessons taught in their board game, like investment and charitable donations.

The two teens are also looking for manufacturers who may be able to produce their game commercially. Their hope is to make it available for classrooms as a teaching tool for other students.