Together we can do so much more: introducing Finclusion 2021
In this guest blog, Victoria Roberts, director of the Fintech Delivery Panel and Insurtech Board at Tech Nation, announces plans for Finclusion 2021, a month-long focus on fintech and financial inclusion that aims to raise awareness, inspire and support innovation, and promote collaboration.
It was Helen Keller that once said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. She didn’t say this to disparage the efforts of individuals – far from it – but to highlight the power and potential of people working together.
Because there is some sort of magic – some intangible spark of creativity and inspiration and innovation – that happens when human beings come together in pursuit of a common goal, particularly when that goal is for the greater good.
Fighting financial exclusion
In the UK, we are at the cutting edge of fintech and innovation in financial services, and yet there are still around one million people in the UK who find themselves financially excluded.
A global pandemic hasn’t helped. While on one hand the economic and social disruption of Covid-19 has increased fintech adoption and customer use of digital propositions, it has also magnified pre-existing challenges of financial exclusion and vulnerability across society – and at the same time created new ones. These include financial and personal vulnerabilities, access to services and information on financial products, intersecting struggles between health and care challenges and income instability, access to a ‘safety net’ of affordable credit and insurance products, and the impact of lower financial literacy and planning which is often particularly highlighted in times of crisis.
Fintech as a force for good
Those of us who work in fintech can see the potential power of technology to make a real and lasting difference in this area. As we look to help individuals throughout the recovery, there is an opportunity for fintech to play a significant role in helping both those adversely impacted by recent events, and those who have traditionally been underserved by the existing financial system.
The Kalifa review highlighted the need for low cost, far-reaching fintech solutions to reach the financially excluded. Whether it is digital IDs to combat fraud, financial wellbeing apps to support sustainable financial behaviour, or a potential game-changing technological innovation that is as yet only a glimmer of an idea in the mind of a forward-thinking individual, we know from our work with fintech entrepreneurs and in helping to scale fintech companies that the talent, ideas and drive are out there – we just need to support and scale it to create the change we want to see.
"Financial Inclusion is a significant driving force and motivator for so many of the fintech SME's working in Scotland. They are working to create a more inclusive financial sector for all. Finclusion 2021 helps us highlight fintech’s power to address important social and economic challenges, and improve financial well-being for people across Scotland and the UK. We are hugely excited to be part of the Finclusion 2021 campaign, and to do what we can to encourage the whole ecosystem, from investors, founders, institutions and advisors, to embrace this opportunity to design an inclusive future of finance.
“As the Kalifa Review made clear, there is a pressing need for the undoubted ingenuity and disruptive power of fintech to be energetically applied to eradicating the obstacles to financial resilience impacting the everyday lives of our fellow citizens in the UK. This was a big problem pre-Covid: it is, arguably, nothing short of an emergency today.”
Shan M. Millie, founder of Bright Blue Hare, member of Tech Nation’s Insurtech Board, and co-chair Finclusion 2021
Introducing Finclusion 2021
That’s why we’ve launched Finclusion 2021, a series of connected happenings designed to stimulate, inspire, showcase and scale fintech’s contribution to financial inclusion, from potential game-changing products and collaborations, to the here-and-now actions being driven by the UK’s leading firms reshaping financial services.
Throughout November 2021, there will be virtual and in-person workshops, show-and-tell-events, and sprint challenges, together with thought leadership and discussion across social and traditional media.
We hope that the month-long focus will promote conversation about the key issues, inspire innovation for financial inclusion and wellbeing, and kick-start a broader call-to-action for the entire fintech community to collaborate to directly solve financial inclusion challenges to the benefit of end consumers.
“The impact of financial exclusion on peoples’ lives can be devastating, leaving many without savings or insurance, and sometimes even without access to a bank account, often having to turn to unaffordable, unregulated credit when they have no other options. If we can turn the energy and innovative ideas of the fintech community towards the development of products and services that meet people’s needs, we could help build resilience and improve financial well-being for millions.”
Chris Pond, chair of the Financial Inclusion Commission, member of Tech Nation’s Fintech Delivery Panel, and co-chair of Finclusion 2021
No one left behind
Fintech is driving fantastic innovation in financial services but, as this digitisation continues apace, we need to ensure no one is left behind. It’s great to see the fintech industry already stepping up to this challenge, and I have been inspired to see fintech firms and financial institutions coming together to listen and learn from lived experience experts during development of the campaign.
I’m really excited to see what more Finclusion 2021 can do to help educate the sector on which challenges are most pressing, and encourage innovative action to address these.
We hope as many people as possible will join us online for the virtual launch of the campaign on 3 November, where we will be sharing more information on our vision, mission and the programme of events.
We’re also inviting fintech entrepreneurs and ecosystem stakeholders to get involved by organising an event, joining the conversation, showcasing existing fintech solutions and registering to attend Finclusion events. More information on the campaign is available on our website.
#FinclusionUK2021 – what part will you play?