I was delighted to be asked to address a cross section of the FinTech industry recently at the App Developers Alliance London Meetup, at We Work in Shoreditch. The tech world is one in which I have taken an interest for a number of years. In addition, I am a huge supporter of the microfinance platform Kiva and am, in fact, part of a group looking to start a micro-lending platform to support entrepreneurs in London. Therefore, to be asked to talk about combining these two areas was not only exciting, it allowed me to speak about FinTech, directly to the people who matter.
A word on FinTech first.  It stands for financial technology and is a recent development. Slowly disappearing are the days where small businesses and entrepreneurs turn to their banks for funding. Even if entrepreneurs overcome the many hurdles to securing bank finance, it which can take months for funds to come through. Therefore, they are instead steering towards crowdfunding which means businesses can expect to receive funds within weeks and not months. Small businesses are always under pressure to compete with larger companies and consumers expect the same service, so it is important to allow access to funds to grow small businesses, helping them develop from the start. Mobile technology such as payments on your phone have taken small businesses to a new level and allowed them access to more markets and potential customers.
I only spoke for a few minutes but I knew I was really keen to share my ideas and listen to the views from FinTech experts.  Harnessing new technology to satisfy the demands of customers can drive business growth and so we need to promote, support and develop it without too many regulations stopping them in their tracks. I know too much regulation can strangle business growth, but it only takes one mistake before dissatisfied customers or competitors demand more government intervention,
regulations and tighter controls. Technology makers have a responsibility to get it right, while the public expects politicians to do something about perceived excesses. While politicians cannot always get out the way to allow innovation, we can work with the tech sector to ensure the regulations are workable for both businesses and consumers. I firmly believe start-ups can do this; using their innovation and fantastic ideas, there is a world waiting for them.
Sitting in front of an audience full of developers and users of FinTech, I pointed out that working together with politicians like myself would make it much easier for both sides. Regulations come from government but for us to regulate and accommodate both sides, we need to understand the tech side. You can view the interview here in full. I look forward to continuing to work with tech entrepreneurs in the future.




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