Drive to grow North East fintech sector with formation of new body

A new partnership of leading tech organisations is aiming to grow the region’s fintech sector by developing a new cluster of businesses.

Dynamo North East is collaborating with Fintech North, which works to increase the fintech community within the Northern Powerhouse area, to bring technology firms together in the North East.

Business leaders met to discuss the collaboration and outline key priorities needed to create the cluster. The group has agreed its priorities should be access to talent; leveraging resources, profile and tech needs; and increasing the volume of early-stage fintech businesses.

The meeting took place at Newcastle’s Hoults Yard and was led by Dynamo’s fintech cluster manager Dawn Dunn, along with FinTech North co-founders Julian Wells and James Thwaites.

Ms Dunn said: “It was a great meeting, with lots of energy, ambition and ideas. There were representatives from the region’s current fintech businesses – both large and small – in addition to universities, banks, fund managers and specialist advisors from local economic development teams. Together they agreed that collaboration and working together to establish and encourage a fintech cluster would benefit everyone.

“It also makes sense that Dynamo and FinTech North work together in the region – we have the local knowledge and established networks, while FinTech North has experience across a wider geography and links to Westminster through the Treasury (Fintech Envoys). Both operations support the development and provision of financial services through the application of technology, and there is such huge potential in this area for the region.”

Mr Thwaites added: “The UK Fintech sector currently generates £6.6bn of revenue and employs about 76,500 people nationally – and that is only going to grow and grow. So taking a common sense approach and working with Dynamo in terms of developing the sector, through research and engagement and leveraging strengths of each other can accelerate our progress.

“FinTech North is a collaborative platform for sharing ideas, challenges and best practice, for showcasing innovative start-ups and scale-ups and for facilitating the connections and collaborations which create real value for businesses and consumers.

“We’re also part of the FinTech National Network which was announced earlier this year.”

Organisations and businesses represented at the meeting included Atom Bank, Barclays, Business Durham, Mincoffs, Newcastle University, the North East Combined Authority, Sage, Ryecroft Glenton, Northstar Ventures, Kani Payments and Block Matrix.

Those at the meeting also discussed how to promote the region’s data advantage, which is now being developed through institutes such as the National Innovate Centre for Data, at Newcastle Helix, as well as how firms can access finance.

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