Grade 10 pupil builds fintech platform and an Ivy League-level portfolio
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Durban - A Grade 10 pupil has launched an open access financial literacy platform to allow fellow peers a head start in managing their money.
The Woodlands International College pupil used his skills in IT and web design to build Finnclu, a website to share information about investing, stocks, bonds, and assets – at no cost to the user.
With a focus on breaking down the barriers of access to vital information on how to successfully invest, Ronan Vaz’s goal is to help others help themselves.
According to Ronan, knowledge on investing and asset management is quite limited among young people, and they only learn about investing in Grade 12 Business Studies.
“I’ve been privileged to have access to information about financial literacy and wanted to create a platform where I could share my passion. Many people can benefit from creating passive income streams, they just need to know where to start – and Finnclu has created a space for this,” says Ronan.
The Boksburg-based pupil’s passion for inclusion and access is supported by the web features and resources he and his team of six have created.
The website offers monthly educational videos, webinars, financial literacy books accessible both online and offline, insight into investing algorithms, and links to resources he personally uses to track his investment portfolio.
Finnclu also provides step-by-step slideshows that break down the basics of investing.
The website has nurtured a community of people who can network through their social media channels and share tips.
“Our main focus is on Africa. We’re seeing a lot of traction in Ghana, Ethiopia and mainly South Africa. However, I’d like to see it become global, that’s my ultimate vision for the platform,” adds Ronan.
His other interest lies in robotics and he was part of the Molo Africa team that assembled a plane which flew from Cape Town to Cairo in 2019. His long-term goal is to study mechanical engineering at a top-ranked international university, such as the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge, or Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
To stand the best chance of admission, he has enrolled with global mentorship company Crimson Education, who will be working with him on all areas of his application, including choosing the best universities and majors, standardised testing, extracurricular mentoring and application support.
According to Rebecca Pretorius, country manager at Crimson Education, top-ranked and Ivy league universities are looking for students who have “super curriculars” – activities that display leadership, innovation, and a passion for change in their communities. And while marks remain an important indicator, universities are looking for applicants with purpose and passion – future leaders in their fields of interest.
“Ronan is the perfect example of the benefits of starting early to work incrementally, plan ahead, and build out the right activities and projects that show depth, instead of cramming these in the last year or two of school. This is vital in more competitive majors like engineering, computer science, medicine and finance” says Pretorius.