Creating a Digital National Accelerator

Wales has the fastest growing digital economy outside of London, and the growth of the financial and professional sector in Wales has led to a thriving Fintech industry.

In the CCR, financial services companies such as FTSE 100 Company Admiral is among the region’s largest employers. In addition, the CCR is a data rich region which has significant data resources. We have a world class Data Centre in the region and over 70% of UKG data is held in entities such as IPO, ONS, and Companies’ House, all of which are domiciled in the CCR. With key developments such as the National Software Academy, Wales Centre for Digital Public Services and INFUSE – there is now real potential for us to harness the power of our data assets and become a stand out location for data-rich services that support both the public sector and thriving sectors like Fintech and Insuretech.

The Welsh fintech scene is now one of the most active in the UK thanks to its innovative talent pool and growing investment opportunities. Wales’ thriving tech ecosystem with its growing supply chain combined with entrepreneurial universities provides a firm foundation for fintech to thrive. There is a vibrant community in Wales’ technology scene, which allows start-ups, investors and larger companies to meet and share ideas through accelerators and incubators as well as networking events and flexible workspaces. 

Furthermore, Wales is home to the first financial technology undergraduate degree. With the changing economic and technological climate in Wales, financial services and the technologies that run them will continue evolving to meet newer and faster-changing demands. The agility required in the financial markets of the future will require new innovations in technology and systems

Finally, the “Kalifa Review of UK Fintech”, published on February 26 2021, now provides a clear strategy and delivery plan to ensure the UK can capitalise upon the opportunities fintech presents. Within this report, Wales – and in particular Cardiff and SE wales- is noted as one of the top 10 clusters in the UK with potential for significant growth, and developing real areas of excellence.

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Proposition

  • Creation of digital accelerator capability to exploit data at scale for the development of insight, foresight and intelligent techniques.
  • Development of skills programmes, providing “skills ladders” for data science, software engineering and AI, from secondary school interventions through to FE, HE and apprenticeships, enabling flexible upskilling, reskilling, entrepreneurial skills and CPD in Academies aligned to business.
  • Knowledge exchange and greater capacity building for co-creating data/AI solutions – business acceleration activity, from start-ups to large companies, through agile projects with industry having access to rapid data analysis, modelling and AI expertise
  • Application of a Venture to Scale up fund – an equity based fund to support new start- ups/ entrepreneurs in the phase from launching the initial venture, through to the point where it is substantive enough to become eligible for scale-up funding.
  • Creation of a centralised Fintech hub -To offer shared support services, skilling and flexible working environments to de-risk new companies and entrepreneurs, as well as providing a “soft landing” space for on-boarding new companies.

Requirements

  • £100m – To be injected into the development of DNA
  • Fiscal levers – Development of fiscal levers linked to data development and region’s data credentials targeted at start-ups.

Other Opportunities