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Meet the Livery Academy Awards Finalists

On Tuesday 31 January, six sixth form students from Haberdashers’ Knights Academy will represent the Trust and all Haberdashers’ schools at the annual Livery Academy Awards final. They will compete against other student teams from Livery Academies such as the Merchant Taylors Academy, Drapers Academy and Grocers Academy in a bid to secure the winning pitch.

The theme this year is 'Financing the Future'. The teams of sixth formers will pitch to investors to raise up to £500,000 (imaginary) to create a youth-based business or investment product that would support a sustainable future.

In the first heat last month, the Knights Academy students impressed investors with their pitch for FinLite: a financial literacy product for young people and youth offenders.

The Knights team – Benedicte, Mellisa, Bilal, Idris, Miriam and Kyan - is being led by Mr Merry, Head of Business & Economics at Knights Academy and supported by Haberdasher mentor, Jonny Stretfield.

The Livery Academy Awards competition, which first started in 2013 and sponsored by the City of London Mayor, is designed to develop entrepreneurial and presentation skills among sixth-form students.

Here, we meet the team representing Haberdashers’ and learn more about them and their team idea.

Benedicte – CEO

Studying: Business, Economics and French A levels

It’s my job to take charge of the group and ensure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to, that everyone understands their roles, the company values and the concept inside out. I need to harness the strengths of team members and make the tough decisions when necessary!

I want to go into the finance industry as a career, so the area of financial literacy is personally important for me. As young people, we need to be exposed to this type of information so we’re not at a disadvantage when it comes to earning our own money and managing it properly.

It’s been great to establish new friendships and get to know my teammates. I am excited about the finals. Regardless of the outcome, we need to appreciate and enjoy the experience.

Mellisa - COO

Studying: Business, Economics and Sociology A Levels 

In my role, I have been looking at securing the future of the business using data and insights, devising competitor strategies and ideas and ensuring everything is in place to run smoothly from concept to delivery. I also created our group name – FinLite.

We want to help generations of families break the cycle of investing poorly and not securing their financial future. I have been lucky enough to gain my financial literacy through my family members however I am aware that if they don’t have the right knowledge, we won’t either and on it goes. Many people know how to save money on luxury one-off items for example, but not how to smartly invest money to benefit you later. 

I am ecstatic about being in the finals but we are entering the final with a humble approach. In the first heat I saw my teams' skills shine through practice and I know we all share a love for FinLite, which makes me more confident. 

Kyan - Financial Director

Studying: Business, Psychology and PE A Levels

I handle the numbers, dealing with where funding comes from, how it’s used, identifying problem areas and how to spend surplus, as well as making financial projections for the future.

I feel that financial literacy should be taught to you in school. My financial knowledge comes from my parents, not from apps, courses and websites and may not be thorough enough. Helping others to be more adept and aware with their money is a very good idea and has good practical applications in everyday life.  

Everyone in the team works hard and does their bit so I never have to worry about what others are doing. I can concentrate on my job and making sure I’m on top of the numbers.   

Idris - Marketing Director

Studying: Business, Politics, Sociology A Levels

I’ve done the market research, gathered information about how viable our product is, had a hand in the pricing strategy, managed the audience segmentation and targeting as well as working on the development strategy so we can keep the business growing.

In my Sociology course, we learned about compensatory education which provides some equity to those who may be at more of a disadvantage and levels the playing field to give everyone equitable life chances. I think financial literacy is equally as important as Maths and English in terms of skills we should learn.

I have learned from the first heat that preparation is key. Although I’m feeling a bit nervous and know it’s going to be tough, I know we’ll give it our best shot. Let’s see what happens! 

Bilal - Product Designer

Studying: Business, Politics and Sociology A Levels 

I was behind the idea of creating an app, and it’s my role to work out how we can manage the courses using the technology. I also have to generate ideas, especially around how we can develop the product further.

During lockdown, I spent a lot of time researching how to make money. It wasn’t until I came across a course that made things clearer, more accessible and simpler, that things started to make more sense to me. This has inspired me to help others in the same situation.

I’m feeling confident about the final. I know I’m working with smart people and I believe that we’re capable of going all the way.  

Miriam - IT and Communications Officer

MiriamStudying: Business, Economics and Computer Science A Levels 

It was my job to coordinate the pitch and presentation. I created our website, ensuring it was all presented to a high standard and that our content incorporated all the right key messages, as well as making sure the user experience was good.

This type of learning forms the building blocks for social mobility. It’s not easy for young people to know how they can develop their financial future. It will help to bridge that gap in knowledge around finance.

I am quite confident about the finals. I believe in my group’s ability and think we have all the skills necessary to take us to a win!

Good Luck

We wish the team all the best of luck with at the Livery Academy Award Finals on Tuesday 31 January at Mansion House. 

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