The Global FinCap Challenge is an intensive experience for students ages 12–16 to work in teams to develop idea-generation skills and collaboration techniques, while addressing business and community problems and challenges.

Thirteen countries participated in national-level competitions, solving for this challenge: Given what you’ve learned about financial capability, develop a comprehensive plan designed to increase a young person’s knowledge, skills, and experiences with money that ensures anyone can achieve financial capability regardless of their circumstances and/or access to financial resources. Your plan should be easy to use and include financial products and services (online and in person) to help young people—regardless of where they are on the financial capability journey—manage their money.

The winners then progressed to the global finals, yesterday and today. Finalists built on their national presentations by responding to this global curveball presented to them on May 19: How would you include adults and financial institutions (both formal and informal) in your plan to ensure anyone can achieve financial capability regardless of their circumstances and/or access to financial resources?

The Buddies from St. Albert the Great College in Malta took the top prize. Their Saving Buddy Tool helps teach students the best savings strategy for life’s various financial decisions by showing how much someone will need to save and how long they will need to wait before they can afford a purchase. The Saving Buddy Tool addresses a common issue that teens face when saving. In addition, to assist those who may not have computer skills or access to internet, The Buddies will incorporate an automated mobile or landline service to assure everyone has access to The Saving Buddy Tool.

According to Asheesh Advani, CEO, JA Worldwide, “Gen Z is the most entrepreneurial generation in recent memory, but they are interested not only in generating profits but also in solving the world’s ills at the same time. This generation understands that it needs extensive experience in solving problems, and the Global FinCap Challenge helps build that problem-solving muscle. But this is not simply an exercise; it’s real-world problem-solving.”

JA and HSBC developed the Global FinCap Challenge together, listening to participating students’ ideas and insights on how to increase financial capability among both youth and adults. HSBC and JA are proud to partner to partner around the importance of building a financially capable generation. Utilizing best practices in interventions for financial capability, we’re establishing a best-in-class educational experience that includes interrelated components that build financial capability. The hands-on learning and volunteer engagement that has been the hallmark of JA for over 100 years is enhanced by these components, which include a financial-capability (fincap) app due in late 2021, an accompanying foundational session that reinforces the characteristics of a financially capable person, and the Global FinCap Challenge.

Together, JA Worldwide and HSBC aspire to spark a movement and build an ecosystem that’s committed to ensuring young people have the skills, tools, and self-belief to successfully manage their financial futures.