Angela McIver’s business was known for offering in-person after-school math clubs for elementary school students in kindergarten-fifth grade.
But when the pandemic hit, she was forced to close the brick and mortar storefront of Trapezium Math in July 2020.
McIver and her team had to revamp the business model and pivot to offering online math clubs for students.
“We’ve always been very technology free, very hands on (and) worksheet based,” said the former middle school teacher.
“We had to figure out how do we move online and keep the heart of what we believe and that is that math should be joyful and confidence building.”
After moving to an online model in fall 2020, the business now has kids from 18 states and the island of Trinidad participating in the math clubs. Each club consists of four students who are provided with a kit that they can use online.
“I think we were better positioned than most schools and organizations that had to pivot online because we always think about how the child learns,” said McIver who started Trapezium Math Club in 2014 to strengthen children’s math foundations.
“I honestly feel like what we have created is better than what we did in person because it is so hyper focused on working with the kids.”
McIver’s business recently received a financial boost when she netted a $50,000 grand prize from the Raise Roundup, business pitch competition. The competition awarded a total of $150,000 to early-stage, Philadelphia metro-based, female founders of color.
Other winners included Ashley Brown, founder and CEO of Sledge Scarves; Chrissy Watts, curator and owner of Philly Experiences; Carla Clarkson, creator and owner of Honey Blowout; Kimberly McGlonn, founder and CEO of Grant Blvd; Monique Curry-Mims, CEO and president of Empact Data Solutions; Lenore Champagne Beirne, founder/managing partner of Bright Ventures; Cassie Haynes, founder of Brightside Media; Shannon Morales, founder/operator of Tribaja and Kenny Oyefara, co-founder/CEO of Elari.
“The Raise Roundup not only speaks to the capital Black and brown female entrepreneurs need to grow their business but also how collaboration and working together around issues we care about can make a difference in our region,” Tanya Morris, founder of Mom Your Business, an accelerator for women of color-owned businesses said in a news release.
“I am grateful for WOMEN’S WAY and Zenith Wealth Partner for their commitment to changing the narrative around equity and entrepreneurship.”
McIver said winning the competition couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We’ve expanded now and we have kids from all across the states but we’re still struggling and I don’t think that people realize how much small businesses really are challenged in having to completely having to change their whole business model,” she said. “So the pitch competition really just provided us with the kind of revenue and capital that we need to scale.”
McIver said that the funding is being used for a marketing and sales campaign so that the business can reach more schools and parents who would sign their kids up for math clubs.
Trapezium Math is serving 500 students through a combination of math clubs and in-school programming.
“Our entire focus is on preparing elementary school students for success in the most rigorous courses in middle school and beyond,” McIver said.
She’s experienced success in working with students at the Christina Seix Academy in Trenton, New Jersey.
“We’ve been working with them since they opened and have seen a lot of success with these kids and their math achievement,” McIver said. “So 95% of students in the lower grades are testing one year or more above grade level at every grade in math and that is what we do at Trapezium.”
Now McIver is striving to expand the math clubs to more school districts.
“I really want to be able to reach schools that kids who may not have access to all the robust enrichment activities that are available and we can bring math clubs to them through their schools,” she said.