The International Language Institute | Small Business Spotlight

Over the past year, International Language Institute (ILI) created an exciting new curriculum for Financial Literacy—in partnership with Valley and funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. The pilot will improve financial and business knowledge for low- to moderate-income individuals with limited English skills.

This has been a long-time goal of ILI and is a direct result of the request from many students in ILI’s free English classes. They expressed a need for greater understanding of financial issues to improve their personal budgeting skills, help them pursue business opportunities and to support those who already run small businesses.

Led by ILI’s curriculum specialist Samira Artur, development of this learner-centered curriculum began in 2021. The team drew from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Money Smart and Money Smart for Small Business materials and in consultation with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network’s Western Regional Office, the Center for Women and Enterprise, Valley, and Common Capital.

ILI’s team created modules and lesson plans and began testing the curriculum with students in ILI’s intermediate and advanced English classes during January and February. The project includes local business professionals who make short presentations and engage the students in question-and-answer exchanges.

Based on the results of the pilot phase, necessary adjustments will be made. Valley will then ensure the curriculum is accessible to a wider range of individuals over the next year. Stay tuned for the launch of the next cohort as we continue this partnership to bring Financial Literacy curriculum to more individuals and business owners.