Skip to main content

Financial services contribute £8 billion to the Scottish economy. But they face difficulties, from digital disruption to regulatory changes. Scottish students have taken on the challenge.

More than 40 students from 10 Scottish universities took part in the 10-hour challenge to develop innovative solutions to real finance industry issues including access to finance, future skills, technology, pensions and mortgages.

Supported by young professionals and experts from financial services, students developed and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges made up of EY’s Sue Dawes, Joanne McIntosh of Pinsent Masons, and Paul Robinson from Royal Bank of Scotland. The students received the benefit of the expert panel’s questioning and feedback, which will prove invaluable as they continue to receive support to develop their idea in a startup and apply for Scottish Edge funding.

The first of its kind for Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), and the brainchild of their Skills, Talent and Research (STaR) Network, the event brought together SFE member firms, universities, business schools and public-sector agencies to make real change in the industry:

Graeme Jones, SFE Chief Executive, said:

“This is a significant event for our STaR Network and puts into practice their mission of bringing industry and academia together as we look to build and attract future skills and talent for financial services in Scotland.”

Students had the opportunity to grow their networks throughout the challenge and each have been offered a one on one mentoring opportunity with a young professional from the SFE membership.

STaR Network Chairman and Managing Director of Customer Experience at Royal Bank of Scotland, Barry Connolly, said:

“Technology is advancing at a rate never experienced before, creating both challenges and opportunities, which is why collaboration between financial services and universities is essential to ensure future generations have the skills required.

Professor Wendy Loretto, Dean of University of Edinburgh Business School, said:

“From disruptive technologies to an ever-evolving regulatory environment, the financial services sector is undergoing an unparalleled period of change. Meanwhile the fundamental role of business and economics in society is being reappraised.

“As a Business School, our role is to empower students to look at the world with critical eyes. We’re proud to host this exciting and innovative forum where the brightest and best young minds can come together with financial leaders, network and learn more about opportunities and challenges facing the sector.”


Image source: Scottish Financial Enterprise