A low-cost alternative to traditional overdrafts and an app which links customers with service providers are among the innovative ideas being developed at the University of Strathclyde’s first ever financial technology entrepreneurship programme.
In collaboration with Strathclyde Business School, the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network (SEN) accelerator programme encourages the development of early-stage innovation-driven FinTech businesses.
Four groups of entrepreneurs will have access to money and in-kind support to help them plan for future investment, capital growth and develop their value proposition during the debut six-month programme.
BankPal, devised by MSc FinTech student Daniel Sloan, aims to provide a simple, low-cost alternative lending solution to traditional overdrafts while also improving consumers’ financial literacy.
Listings Ledger provides estimated valuations for private companies, while SimpliTasker is an app designed by Strathclyde MBA graduates, Sarthak Kukreja and Othmane Ammor to help individuals and businesses book on-demand services and get matched within seconds with trusted and background checked service providers like cleaning staff.
MSc FinTech student Darren Nicol is behind an online platform, Nudge Blockchain, which facilitates the transactions and management of work contracts.
Sarthak Kukreja, co-founder of SimpliTasker said:
The accelerator is helping guide us through the complexity of the financial services industry and making us visible to the people who matter in the banking sector.
“The mentoring from leading FinTech and business experts will also help us gain valuable insights to allow us to take our business to the next level.”
As part of the programme, participants can also apply for up to £1,000 of initial funding from the ‘Strathclyders into Business Fund’ and have access to a professional business environment with dedicated working space at the Enterprise Hub for up to 12 months.
Masterclasses and mentor
They are also offered monthly masterclasses and a dedicated mentor to guide their progress. The programme will end with an opportunity to pitch to investors at a ‘Dragons Den’ style event.
Professor Eleanor Shaw, Senior Vice-Dean of the Strathclyde Business School, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first aspiring entrepreneurs onto the University’s FinTech Accelerator and look forward to providing them with all the help and support they need to help realise their potential.
“The accelerator is an important part of the University’s FinTech Cluster and participants will be able to take advantage of a broad range of support from the emergent strong Glasgow fintech ecosystem, particularly from our partners within the Glasgow City Innovation District.”
The competitive landscape of the financial services sector is changing as new technology is introduced to make financial transactions easier and more affordable. Research suggests that FinTech has the potential to create nearly 15,000 jobs in Scotland over 10 years.
Glasgow has been recognised as one of the top three finance centres in the UK, with 90 per cent of the city’s financial services jobs using financial technology.
Since 2012 Strathclyde has endorsed more than 35 business opportunities. It has also been at the forefront of the FinTech movement and in September 2017 launched the UK’s first FinTech Masters programme at the Strathclyde Business School.
The SEN FinTech Accelerator is open to all Strathclyde students, staff and alumni with early-stage businesses or existing businesses with links to the University of Strathclyde.
Participants are selected by a financial growth panel and it’s ideally suited for start-ups with growth potential and applications for the next cohort will open in August 2019.