Client story - Kikori
Client Name: Kendra Bostick
Business Name: Kikori
Business Website: www.kikoriapp.com
Industry: Education Technology
Location: Dover, NH
SBDC Advisor: Julie Glosner
There’s (always) an app for that, right? Or, so it seems. In this digital world, it appears there is an app for everything. But, what do you do when there ISN’T “an app for that?” Well, if you’re Kendra Bostick, Co-Founder and CEO of Kikori, you gather the right team and get it developed yourself.
Kikori is a mobile app and community-driven digital platform to help educators improve their students' social-emotional and academic outcomes with experiential education activities. The activities are aligned with Social Emotional Learning Standards, 21st Century Skills and Sustainable Development. The app provides team building and social emotional learning (SEL) activities for educators, facilitators, and parents.
It was just eight years ago that Kendra, who had been working as a school social worker, dreamed up Kikori. While working on attaining her Master’s in Social Work, she discovered a strong interest in experiential education and had the opportunity to attend a conference put on by the Association for Experiential Education. “I built these amazing connections and learned tons about myself, so it was this really impactful experience that stayed with me and followed me through the different work that I did,” shares Kendra.
As a school social worker, she discovered a common denominator. She noted that in meetings, conversations always began with talking about learning, but they would always shift over to classroom climate, relationships, and behavior. Kendra states, “These are the never-ending needs happening in our schools.” Driven by her own students who were told that Math, Reading, and Writing were most important, Kendra became passionate about bringing team building and SEL activities into the classrooms to help teachers create a sense of community and students discover their own special strengths.
Kendra attended a conference where her final project was to create what she needed in her practice. She found that she needed easy access to experiential education activities. Sure, she could do the old school search, print, laminate, place in a binder process, but she thought, “Gosh…it’d be so much easier if there was an app.” As it turns out, there was no app for that; no one place she could go to easily search for an activity based on learning outcomes, types of activities, materials available, age, etc.
So, she and her co-founder Brynn set out to create Kikori together to combine the internal SEL within schools with outdoor education facilitation.
Equipped with an idea, but no entrepreneurial or technical background, Kendra did not relent in making Kikori happen, going so far as to exchange English lessons for app development hours with developers she worked with during a year abroad in Chile. While there, she also received help in developing the Kikori website, while another person taught her how to use Canva. “My entire startup experience is all in Chilean Spanish,” laughs Kendra. She and Brynn soon went all in, investing their savings, and working with a development ops company in Chicago. They spent two years building their prototype and eventually the app went live January 2021.
Now in Durham, Kendra is attending the University of New Hampshire to obtain her PhD and that’s where NH SBDC became part of her growing support community. She says she has found the SBDC to be helpful in all areas of business.
Through the SBDC, she was connected to amazing programs and individuals, including the New Hampshire Tech Alliance, where Kikori previously participated in their first Speed Venture Summit and most recently was awarded the Millworks Fund II Award during the NH Innovation Summit Startup Showcase.
Kendra works with business advisor Julie Glosner, Merrimack Valley Regional Director.
Julie has been supportive in providing helpful contacts and recommending programs and grants to apply for incredible opportunities, such as the U.S. Department of Education SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program. She is a listening ear who has supported me on this somewhat wild journey. I’ve reached out to her and talked with her about real issues, real needs and she’s just there to problem solve.
Today, Kendra looks forward to the next five years, as Kikori plans to be the go-to experiential, social-emotional learning hub for educators, facilitators, parents, and counselors. She concludes, “whatever your small business needs, the SBDC has ideas, contacts and suggestions to support you on your journey.”