Four-week 'festival of fintech innovation' kicks off in Scotland

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A month-long “festival of fintech innovation” has kicked off in Scotland in a bid to shape the emerging digital economy.

Over the next four weeks, more than 50 events will highlight the burgeoning impact of fintech - financial technology.

The festival, organised under the umbrella of industry body Fintech Scotland, is in its fourth year and aims to demonstrate how financial innovation is supporting citizens, business, regulators and government “build towards economic and social recovery after the pandemic”.

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This year’s festival is said to be “even more diverse” with a broad range of innovation themes and participants form fintech entrepreneurs, large global enterprises, universities, the public sector and regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is hosting half a dozen events on topics such as cryptocurrency and sustainability.

Financial technology, or fintech, has become a key growth area for the digital economy in Scotland. Picture: AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezFinancial technology, or fintech, has become a key growth area for the digital economy in Scotland. Picture: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Financial technology, or fintech, has become a key growth area for the digital economy in Scotland. Picture: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Organisers highlighted the festival’s “significant global reach” with participation arranged with fintech innovators in the US, Europe and Australia, working in conjunction with Scottish Development International and the UK government’s Department of International Trade.

The formal kick off for this year’s festival involved a fintech summit - a hybrid online and in-person event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh organised by online publisher Digit.

The festival is due to conclude on October 14 with an all-day, in-person fintech conference at the University of Strathclyde Technology & Innovation Centre.

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The event, hosted by Fintech Scotland, will bring together speakers from across the UK fintech centres in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as presentations from UK and Scottish government ministers and Ron Kalifa, the author of the Treasury’s recently commissioned Fintech Review.

Nicola Anderson, chief executive at FinTech Scotland, said: “We're looking forward to connecting with colleagues as we welcome the return of some face-to-face events as well as a variety of digital and virtual events.

“The range of topics, contributions and organisations taking part really demonstrates the breadth, expertise and diversity that drives fintech innovation in Scotland.”

Fiona MacKinnon, who is responsible for business events at VisitScotland, added: “It's an opportunity to come together to learn, connect and collaborate both virtually and face to face.

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“This year we're extending a warm welcome to delegates from over 30 countries and look forward to learning from a global community and sharing our own knowledge and expertise.”

FinTech Scotland was founded in January 2018 as a joint initiative by Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. The organisation is now supported by a broad range of global financial services, technology and professional services firms as well as the University of Edinburgh and University of Strathclyde, the FCA, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Meanwhile, The Scotsman is holding a free webinar on September 22 looking at environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, and why are they are crucial to Scotland’s fintech future. The event is due to take place between 2pm and 3.30 pm and is sponsored by Burness Paull and EY.

The webinar will open by taking the temperature of the fintech sector in Scotland, and discuss the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, and their impact. It will then examine why ESG is so important to banks and investors looking to buy or invest in fintechs.

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