AUCHINLECK Academy pupils have been selected as finalists for a national competition that helps schoolgirls gain an understanding of the world of investment.

Sixth year pupils Abbie, Ailey, Alice, Eva and Katie have reached the grand finale of the Growing Future Assets Competition.

The bright youngsters have beaten off stiff competition to represent Auchinleck with their idea of Illumina Inc, a cutting-edge enterprise.

The girls demonstrated determination, resilience, and ingenuity to finish their pitches from home during lockdown, after schools shut down.

The girls could be set to bag an investment for their school, with a prize of £1,000. Each team member also has the lure of £200 in vouchers of their choice if they win.

Peter Gilchrist, Head Teacher at Auchinleck Academy said: “We are so proud of our AH Business Girls who have been successful in qualifying for the finals of the Growing Future Assets Competition.

“Well done to Abbie, Ailey, Alice, Eva and Katie who have worked brilliantly as a team to progress to this stage of the competition. They developed an in-depth knowledge of the company and delivered a very professional presentation which could win over even the toughest investor.”

Each of the teams were matched with mentors volunteering from investment companies who provided guidance ahead of their pitch.

Mentor for the Auchinleck Academy Team, Laura Fyfe, Investment Analyst at Stewart Investors comments: “I was hugely impressed with the girls’ work on making the case to invest in Illumina. They defined their key investment criteria as “strong growth and ethics,” and analysed a wide range of quantitative and qualitative data.”

The girls have been praised by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, who said: “The Future Asset Competition is an exciting opportunity for girls across the country to access professional information and advice about careers in investment, a sector where women are under-represented. It offers competitors the opportunity to enhance and develop their employability, financial, data analysis and presentation skills and I wish all those taking part this year the best of luck.”

The final between the four remaining teams will be held via Zoom on June 8 and 9.