The FinTech Five – 1st December 2023
01 December, 2023
Welcome to Fintech Five, a fortnightly look at the best articles, news and insights from FinTech Wales members and the Financial Services industry across the UK.
1. Launch of Investment Fund for Wales provides £130m boost.
The British Business Bank has launched a new £130 million investment fund for Wales on 23 November 2023. The Funding will assist small businesses thrive and prosper.
The Bank’s Investment Fund for Wales will be the first solely UK government-backed investment fund for smaller businesses in Wales, helping to increase the supply and diversity of early-stage finance by providing options to firms that might otherwise not receive investment. Funding is designed to help businesses with activities including expansion, product or service innovation, new processes, skills development, and capital equipment.
Three fund managers have been appointed to manage the fund. BCRS Business Loans will manage the smaller loans part of the fund (£25,000 to £100,000), FW Capital will be responsible for larger loans (£100,000 to £2 million) and Foresight will manage equity deals (up to £5 million).
Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of the British Business Bank, said:
“Wales is a nation of innovative small businesses. These start-ups, scale-ups and established businesses often require initial, or further finance, in order to launch, to maintain momentum, or to develop their full potential.
“This fund, which has been designed specifically for Welsh businesses, is intended to further address the challenges of access to finance and to provide opportunities for business talent in Wales to grow, to develop and to thrive.
“Over the past nine years we have supported thousands of Welsh businesses across urban and rural Wales and with the launch of the Investment Fund for Wales we will be able to go further and deeper, to support hundreds more as they continue to contribute to the ongoing sustainable success of the wider Welsh economy.”
2. £160M Investment Zone Heading for Cardiff Capital Region.
£160M funding from the UK Government and Welsh Government announced in the Autumn Statement to support intensive economic growth in Southeast Wales.
The UK Government has announced in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement that the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is to host one of the UK’s refocused Investment Zones in a joint funding package with the Welsh Government. The joint package is worth £160M over a period of between five to ten years and will be delivered by the South East Wales Corporate Joint Committee from 2024 onwards.
The intention for the Investment Zones is to catalyse high-potential knowledge-intensive growth clusters across the UK, with each Zone driving the growth of at least one key future sector from among green industries, digital technologies, life sciences, creative industries and advanced manufacturing.
Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council said of the announcement:
“This is very welcome news for the Region and for Cardiff. Our universities host world-class research capabilities, we have a booming tech sector, and significant partnership arrangements are already in place. This means we are prepared, ready and able to make the best use of this opportunity. Cardiff is the economic driving force behind Wales, and Cardiff’s role in these new investment zones will ensure the Region, and Cardiff, benefit from this joint governmental package for years to come.”
3. Microsoft Announce £2.5 Billion Investment in Skills and Data Centres in London and Cardiff.
Business leaders across Wales have hailed a decision by Microsoft to invest £2.5 billion over the next three years in AI infrastructure and skills in London and Cardiff.
This is the single largest investment in its 40-year history in the country which will see Microsoft grow its UK AI infrastructure across sites in London and Cardiff and potential expansion into northern England, helping to meet the exploding demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable AI specific compute power. Datacentres process, host and store the massive amounts of digital information that is critical for developing AI models.
Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said:
“South Wales is home to a significant and growing tech industry and it is fantastic to see it develop still further with Microsoft’s UK expansion plans.
“The UK Government is playing a leading role in supporting the tech and research sectors as well as developing the UK as an AI superpower. These areas are central to growing our economy and south east Wales is at the forefront of these emerging industries.”The UK is already the leading European tech ecosystem, which last year was worth more than double Germany’s and three times as much as France’s. The UK’s AI sector also contributes £3.7 billion to the UK economy and employs 50,000 people across the country.
4. Local Business Leader Named ‘Wales technology Entrepreneur of the Year’ The Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
Local Business Leader named ‘Wales Technology Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
South Wales based business leader, Mark Sweeny, has been recognised by the prestigious Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, after being awarded ‘Wales Technology Entrepreneur of the Year’.
The Founder and Chief Executive of the fast-growing digital consultancy, de Novo Solutions, Mark boasts an impressive career within the tech sector, having built, scaled, and exited multiple businesses before launching de Novo Solutions in late 2020.
With the award’s ceremony hosted at Grosvenor House, London, Mark was one of six finalists, where his unique approach to market and capability to accelerate growth by 600% over the last 12 months alone impressed the Awards’ judges, culminating in him winning ‘Wales Technology Entrepreneur of the Year’.
Discussing this impressive award win, Mark Sweeny, Founder and Chief Executive of de Novo Solutions, said:
“2023 has been an incredible year for de Novo Solutions, where we have not only developed and launched new revolutionary cloud-based solutions to market, but have also executed a number of exciting projects, delivering impactful results for our growing client base.
5.FinTech Wales Welcomes The Royal Mint.
The Royal Mint has become the latest company to partner with FinTech Wales.
Official maker of UK coins and the home of precious metals The Royal Mint will work with the FinTech Wales community to access its resources and continue developing its relationships across Wales.
Through the partnership, it can connect with various Welsh fintech organisations, including entrepreneurs, small, medium and large enterprises, tech suppliers and universities. while also meeting talent who are seeking new opportunities.
Rich Hobbs, group IT director at The Royal Mint, said:
“We are thrilled to become a partner of FinTech Wales and its vibrant community, which provides invaluable support and resources to aid our ongoing digitisation plans at The Royal Mint. We serve customers around the world and are committed to providing them with a premium service and seamless online experience.”
Until Next Time
That concludes this week’s edition of FinTech Five. We appreciate your readership, and remember to join us every two weeks for the latest and greatest news highlights from our esteemed FinTech Wales membership. Thank you for staying informed!