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Future Finance for All: £1.8Million ‘Market-Making Opportunity’ for Small UK Financial Service Firms

Amid volatile economic conditions, the smallest financial service firms continue to find it tough to grow and expand their offerings and customer base. To combat this, a new national £1.8million programme has launched to support SMEs across the UK.

Future Finance for All, the innovation adoption accelerator, will work closely with smaller financial services firms in the UK to understand the challenges they face and explore how technology and innovation can help. It will look to help the smaller financial services firms better serve their existing customer needs; while also expanding their customer base – by reaching new individuals or enterprises.

The University of Bristol is among four universities leading the £1.8million programme to accelerate innovation adoption in SMEs and mid-tier financial services firms to help boost their productivity and competitiveness.

The accelerator also aims to be highly collaborative, bringing together smaller financial services firms with experts in technology and innovation to work together to find solutions.

The programme will roll out support in a phased approach, scaling up to deliver a portfolio of accessible training, cohort-based workshops and peer-to-peer engagement through a digital platform to reach the breadth of the UK’s financial services clusters.

Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency, and the UK Research and Innovation’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have funded Future Finance 4 All.

The programme brings together social scientists from a number of disciplines with expert partners from the financial services, business, legal, innovation, as well as non-profit sectors. It hopes this diverse expertise can help participating firms to shape the development of new technologically enabled fintech products and services, which they could ultimately take to market and scale for wider societal benefit.

Future Finance for All: a potentially transformative impact for the industry?
Jonathan Beaverstock comments on the Future Finance for All UK
Jonathan Beaverstock, professor of international management at the University of Bristol Business School

Jonathan Beaverstock, professor of international management and deputy dean at the University of Bristol Business School, is leading the project team at Bristol, and commented: “The accelerator will mobilise social science knowledge and expertise in digital technology to support and enable SMEs and mid-tier firms to innovate their business models and assist in the delivery of technologically enable financial services to business and individual customers in markets like payments, lending, savings, pensions and insurance, to become included in the fast-moving financial services, and financial technology, industry.”

Professor Sharon Collard, director of the Personal Finance Research Centre, also commented: “Having access to decent financial services is essential for participation in society. This is a potential ‘market-making opportunity’ for new financial product and service innovation delivered by smaller firms that could help boost access and use of financial services for the millions of UK consumers – individuals, self-employed people, and SMEs – who remain underserved.”

Marty Reid, executive director of the SETsquared Partnership, also discussed the new initiative: “New technologies are naturally challenging to implement in regulated markets like Financial Services which can stifle innovation. Future Finance for All is taking a fresh collaborative approach that we believe could have a transformative impact for the industry as a whole.”

Stuart Harrison, director at FinTech West, said: “We already work closely with universities on a number of initiatives and this will further deliver benefits to the sector through the close collaboration of academia and industry.”

Author

  • Tom joined The Fintech Times in 2022 as part of the operations team; later joining the editorial team as a journalist.

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