The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is generally an up and coming region with respect to its wider economic development. Specifically, the region has seen a growth and importance in fintech, producing its own unique innovations, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the space. As The Fintech Times in September celebrates the Women in Fintech we take a moment to hear more from some of the leading female leaders in both the Middle East and Africa. One of them is Shanthini Raja who is based in Bahrain and originally from India and is a fintech expert.
Shanthini Raja is the founder, chairperson, and CEO of Rsquare Technologies. She is also a committee member of Women in Fintech, which is the initiative of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), a dynamic public agency with responsibility for attracting inward investment into Bahrain focusing on target economic sectors in which the country offers significant strengths. Key areas include manufacturing, information and communication technologies (ICT), and logistics and transport services.
Shanthini is also an active member of Bahrain Businesswomen Society. Having lived in Bahrain for the past 23 years, Shanthini has had different job positions including the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce ICT committee member, Former President of the Indian Ladies Associations, Former Vice Chairwomen for the British School of Bahrain and utilising her expertise on fintech solutions.
Describe your career journey
As a recognised thought leader and a female, what difficulties have you faced in your career?
Negotiations was an important challenging task during the initial stage of career.
The challenges would be finding out the right partner who will have the same passion towards our commitment and goals. Being a women with all our other responsibilities at home and at work place if the right mind set partner is not obtained – that will be great challenge.
What are the future trends and predictions you see happening in the region?
In the region, we are having more importance for fintech where the focus are fintech workshops, conferences, exhibitions, and seminars. I predict in the region that more fintech companies will start investing and knowing the opportunities and importance given for fintech initiatives at Bahrain mainly in the regulatory perspective. Here, Bahrain is always supportive and a leader in fintech innovation.
We are truly blessed to have a market where logistics is very easy, client satisfaction can be maintained so well, and the right ecosystem to support entrepreneurs especially in fintech. These are all the advantages of the Middle East market. As we have good skilled hardworking local resources the quality and timely delivery is always a plus in the region. As the client also prefers local companies to always have constant touch with the vendors this is another advantage of having a local presence in the region.
What advice and recommendations do you want to give future female entrepreneurs and thought leaders who are based in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region?
As in the Middle East we are focusing more on technology and on health care the innovative solutions will have more demand so female leaders and entrepreneurs should focus more on creating more innovative automatic tools. To help automate the manual processes is the future opportunity in both the financial and healthcare sectors.
As female entrepreneurs we should focus more on expansion once we have a good product and if we know that the product can be marketed very well in other markets with the support of Export Bahrain or other entities they need to start their marketing around the region. The focus should be more on client base and by increasing the revenue which will certainly increase the valuation of the company and its products.