It’s been a difficult year for society and the coronavirus has impacted a wide range of industries and sectors. And while 2020 has presented huge hurdles, dynamic technology startups spanning a range of sectors are rising to the challenge.
FinTech Scotland CEO, Stephen Ingledew, believes the flourishing Scottish fintech ecosystem is playing a crucial role in driving innovation and creating positive impact for both businesses and consumers.
Speaking at DIGIT’s 7th annual Fintech Summit, Ingledew highlighted the key role that innovative SMEs have played in recent months, and will likely continue to play as the world looks to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
“The digital economy and digital society have really accelerated over the last couple of months during these challenging times for everyone,” he said.
“What is particularly encouraging is that way that the fintech community’s SMEs have actually risen to the opportunity and grown and developed,” Ingledew added.
Since the onset of the pandemic, FinTech Scotland has witnessed an increase in the number of SMEs in the community that are focused on addressing major core challenges, such as the way people and businesses manage money.
Many of these innovative businesses featured at the Fintech Summit, which explored how financial services and the burgeoning fintech industry can help drive economic recovery and deliver positive outcomes for society.
“Alba, Float, DirectID and Soar are just a few examples of the many that we’ve got here in Scotland that are part of a global fintech movement driving positive changes in people’s lives,” Ingledew noted.
“Of course, fintech is part of something bigger,” he added.
Indeed, Ingledew highlighted the ecosystem’s rapid growth in recent years. It also now forms part of a “broader cluster of participation in innovation”, he insisted.
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In the past 12-months, Scotland’s fintech sector has greatly matured. The launch of the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence earlier this year was made possible with significant funding from the government; further underlining the growing strength of the sector.
The Centre, which is to be established in Edinburgh and the Central region, aims to provide a platform for global participants to research and develop solutions aimed at delivering social and economic benefits through open banking and financial data.
Combined with FinTech Scotland’s consumer panel, which focuses on issues such as financial inclusion, Ingledew believes all the foundations are in place to propel the fintech ecosystem to the next level.
“Involving citizens in the innovation is a key part of what is driving innovation here in Scotland, and our fintech consumer and citizens panel plays an important part of how we’re developing the cluster,” he explained.
Delegates also heard how the sector has begun to raise eyebrows on both a national and international scale. Closer ties with European fintech hubs is allowing the Scottish ecosystem to collaborate with and learn from larger, more mature clusters.