Gavin Powell – General Secretary, FinTech Wales
We are currently going through a traumatic and disruptive event that demands all our attention. But what happens after Covid-19? Stepping back for a moment, is there an opportunity beyond the present for the Welsh fintech sector?
We are undoubtedly going to see a lasting impact from the pandemic. The changes we are seeing will facilitate a greater use of remote working, removing reliance on the traditional office.
The opportunity from new technology existed before Covid-19, but what has changed is the landscape. Covid-19 will act as a real leveller for a short time. The nations and regions that offer an environment allowing a rapid response will recover quickest and best, gaining a real competitive advantage.
Luckily Wales is well positioned, and with some key interventions can quickly become a leading emerging location for fintech businesses.
Wales was already preparing itself as a more efficient and resilient environment, through work by Fintech Wales and proactive industry, academia and government stakeholders. Already touted as a key sector by Cardiff Capital Region and the Welsh Government, the alignment of their vision with Fintech Wales meant that we were already on course before Covid-19, and we continue to travel on that trajectory.
This work will align the industrial sector with academia, government bodies and wider UK strategies. Forming a long-term, unified vision and roadmap for the Welsh sector will be at its core.
We will be engaging with companies in Wales to understand their technology needs.
We will also explore how their target markets may change due to external disruptions, which will in turn require new and different technologies and approaches.
Once in place, the roadmap will allow us to focus efforts on two areas. Firstly, addressing those common technology challenges through a more efficient innovation pipeline; engaging government bodies and funding mechanisms, academia, SMEs and large organisations in a collaborative manner; and shortening time to market of innovative solutions. Secondly, moving to a timely and more proactive means of developing and delivering skills into the sector.
These changes will reduce risk and maximise opportunities for growth and success for both existing and new companies in the sector.
Innovation helps achieve medium and long-term prosperity following a major disruption like Covid-19. It is often the differentiator, and taking your foot off that innovation gas pedal will only provide an opportunity for a competitor to progress.
Of course, that luxury is not available to all, as survival is the priority for many at the moment. But providing the environment for fintech companies to innovate after Covid-19 will be the single most important thing we can do to secure a better future for the sector.
So while the country, people and economy are in a dark tunnel looking for signs of light, we are working hard with others to make sure that the world we emerge into is a place ready for the next chapter of fintech in Wales.