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Scotland first in UK to gain Fintech Cluster Excellence Award

Technology & Innovation Centre building from ground

Scotland’s financial technology cluster is the first in the UK and only the third in Europe to be formally recognised by a European accreditation body as a centre of excellence.

The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) carried out a benchmarking analysis of the FinTech cluster development work led by FinTech Scotland, which includes the University of Strathclyde as a stragetic partner.

Scotland is the first FinTech cluster in the UK to be recognised in this way and one of only three in Europe to achieve the accreditation from the body, which benchmarks more than 1,000 economic clusters across 46 nations.

It was awarded the first level of accreditation -  the bronze label - after an expert review process which assesses 36 economic indicators, including services provided, interaction between participants and the collaboration achievements.

Strategic partner

Professor Eleanor Shaw, Associate Principal for Entrepreneurship and Education at Strathclyde, which is developing FinTech innovation and skills and launched the UK’s first post graduate programme, said: “We are delighted to be a strategic partner of FinTech Scotland and we congratulate them on this significant achievement.

FinTech is an increasingly important part of Scotland’s economy and FinTech Scotland have been tremendously impactful in building and driving Scotland’s thriving FinTech community.”

The University has designated FinTech as a strategic priority and is committed to being at the heart of Glasgow’s community, which includes the Glasgow City Innovation District.

The district is a partnership involving the University, Entrepreneurial Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Glasgow City Council and is a hub for entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration.

Global centre

Stephen Ingledew, Chief Executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “We are very proud of this centre of excellence cluster recognition which will further contribute to being recognised as a global Fintech centre.

“Achieving cluster bronze level recognises the progressive innovation, collaboration and inclusion initiatives across Scotland for the past two years and the ESCA benchmarking report will help shape the priorities for 2020 and beyond in becoming a major global Fintech centre.

“To progress this, we’re delighted to partner with a broad range of forward thinking and innovative enterprises in developing the nation’s Fintech cluster, all who have recognised the economic, social and international value of our collaborative and inclusive model.”

Scottish Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, Kate Forbes said that the global financial services sector is being transformed by technology which speeds up transactions, makes payments more secure and helps avoid problem debt and added: “Scotland is already at the forefront of these developments and the FinTech cluster is ensuring the benefits are spread across the country.

“This accreditation will further increase our international profile and is another step towards the goal of being ranked among the world’s top five Fintech cluster nations.”

FinTech is the technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services. The emerging industry uses technology to improve activities in finance.

FinTech Scotland is an independent body founded in January 2018 by the financial services sector, universities and the Scottish Government to ensure Scotland encourages financial innovation, collaboration and inclusion as part of the country’s broader digital economy objectives.

As well as Strathclyde, strategic partners include Scottish Enterprise and global technology and professional services firms.

Economic clusters across all industry sectors have been proven to grow faster than the mainstream economy and act as a powerful development tool empowering innovation and sustainable resilience. By connecting businesses and enterprises, clusters on average employ 25% more people, pay higher than average salaries and gain from higher international recognition and engagement.