Schoolgirls from across Scotland are in line to be crowned the country’s most promising new business brains.
The finals of the Growing Future Assets Investment Competition, which nurtures the next generation of female investment experts, will be held in March, when a total of eight teams compete for the top spots in junior and senior contests.
And this year the competition is tougher than ever with entries up by a record-breaking 300%.
Making it to the last stage in the 16-18 year age group are pupils from: Lochaber High School (Fort William, Inverness-shire); North Berwick High School (East Lothian); St Columba’s High School (Gourock, Inverclyde) and Wellington School (Ayr). In the 13-16 year age group, those in the finals are from: Bishopbriggs Academy (East Dunbartonshire); Craigmount High School (Edinburgh); Deans Community High School (Livingston, West Lothian) and Larbert High School (Falkirk).
Financial educators Future Asset believe that being female should never be a barrier to progressing in a chosen career and the contest introduces senior schoolgirls to potential careers in investment management, demonstrating how working in the sector provides engaging opportunities and can change the world for the better.
During the competition youngsters must prove their ability to spot the next big investment opportunity by researching, analysing and pitching a company they think will be a great long-term prospect.
And teenagers have reacted enthusiastically to the opportunity, despite the challenges of the pandemic, with 62 groups, comprising 240 girls, from all over Scotland taking part.
They have been mentored by investment management professionals offering advice, inspiration and career insights, and supported by teachers who have gone above and beyond in providing extra-curricular activities.
Business Education Teacher Hannah Fox, North Berwick High School (East Lothian) says: “The Growing Assets Investment Competition connects classroom learning to the Investment Industry as the students are able to make use of their learning from Business Management and Economics related subjects.
“The task set makes it abundantly clear what a role in the industry might look like, breaking away from the stereotypical portrayal of the industry in movies. It pushes students out of their comfort zone in areas such as interacting with professionals to ask advice and run ideas past and allows them to experience managing a varied workload as well as the value of team work.
“The enthusiasm from the Future Asset Team and their guest speakers is second to none, as is the support the students receive throughout the competition. The students are very fortunate to be given access to such talented individuals and high-quality resources.”
This year more than 80 investment mentors from 28 firms, including Baillie Gifford, Stewart Investors, Walter Scott and Partners and Rathbone Investment Management, volunteered to counsel the youngsters.
Mentor and investments expert Amanda Forsyth says: “The competition has proved to be a superb exercise, not just in demystifying some elements of the working of the stock market, but also in helping the teams identify skills in themselves, the relevance of which to investment processes might not have been obvious.
“Good communication is crucial in writing research and finding that the ability to construct a flowing argument is something that truly matters was a real breakthrough moment for the members of the team who already enjoy writing. The Growing Future Assets Investment Competition has very obviously unlocked for these young women a plethora of new opportunities – and for me, as their mentor, seeing that happen has been a joy.”
Experts from journalism and business have also advised the teenagers with Executive and Voice Coach Susan Room boosting their skills and confidence with online masterclasses in Mindset, Body Language, Speech and Voice, and author, broadcaster and financial journalist Iona Bain explaining how they can invest their way to a better future.
Now in its second year, the teams have already presented their case in a research report and three-minute elevator pitch. The eight finalists will deliver an extended pitch to judges at the beginning of March with the winners announced on March 2.
The champions will receive: £1000 for the winning senior team and £200-worth of vouchers of the students’ choice for each team member; £800 for the best junior team and £150-worth of vouchers each. Senior and junior runners-up receive £500 and £100 of vouchers and £400 and £75 of vouchers, respectively.
Helen Bradley, Future Asset programme manager, says: “The response to this year’s competition from the youngsters has just been astounding – matched by a fantastic level of commitment from teachers and mentors.
“And the calibre of entries has been so impressive. The judges are going to have a challenging job on their hands determining which teams are the true future stars of the investment industry.”
For more information visit https://www.futureasset.org.uk/