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From Conversation to Action: Project Nemo Leads Fintech’s Disability Inclusion Drive

Project Nemo, a new disability inclusion initiative in the fintech industry, has launched with the aim of addressing the underrepresentation of disabled individuals in both the workforce and customer base.

More than 20 per cent of the UK population lives with a disability, which translates to an estimated spending power of £274billion annually. Despite this significant demographic, there is also anecdotal evidence suggesting a lack of disability representation in UK fintech employment.

Project Nemo, led by disability inclusion champion and fintech industry leader Joanne Dewar, embarks on a year-long mission to challenge disability inclusion within the fintech sector. This initiative aims to instigate profound and lasting change through three key approaches:

It seeks to drive systemic change through education, empowerment and showcasing progress:

  1. Educating: Improving awareness of the barriers and opportunities for fintech to be more inclusive to those with disabilities and lived experiences.
  2. Empowering: Connecting fintech business leaders, allies, advocates and those with lived experience to a toolkit of resources and expertise that will enable them to build inclusive workplaces, products and services.
  3. Showcasing: Sharing and celebrating progress.
Inclusion programme

At the heart of the initiative lies Project Nemo’s Fintech Festival of Inclusion, an events programme designed to empower fintech business leaders in embracing incremental changes for their enduring journey toward inclusion. Each workshop event will unite disability experts, advocates as well as success stories with the fintech community, facilitating the implementation of transformative changes.

The outcomes of these workshops will also feed into a practical guide enriched with case studies, ultimately culminating in a comprehensive e-book and podcast series tailored for the fintech community.

Dewar, Project Nemo lead, says: “What started as isolated conversations a year ago have rapidly gathered momentum and, in just a few short months we are launching at IFGS. I have long held the mantle on equity and inclusion in fintech and yet I have never received such unequivocal support and personal resonance around one issue – disability inclusion. It is a massive missed opportunity for fintech.

“Fintech thinks of itself as the future of financial services, and we have made great strides in streamlining, broadening reach and lowering costs. But if we ever want to truly achieve mainstream adoption beyond the digital natives, we need to ensure that our workplaces, all of our products and services fully consider accessibility.”

The launch

Dewar, alongside fintech author and commentator Chris Skinner, will address the audience at this week’s Innovate Finance Global Summit, urging fintech organisations to join the initiative.

Innovate Finance CEO, Janine Hirt, also added: “As the industry body for UK fintech, Innovate Finance is delighted to support Project Nemo.

“We believe that fostering greater diversity across our industry is critical to ensuring our world-leading UK fintech sector can continue to move from strength-to-strength. Project Nemo is an industry-first in terms of championing disability inclusion in our sector.”

Project Nemo’s goal is to create a lasting legacy of continual progress towards a more inclusive fintech industry and services. Organisations and allies, including Fintech Fringe, Fintech North and Fintech Week London, also support it.

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