The UK is one of the best places for financial technology startups and shows great diversity across the fintech sector, according to Innovate Finance.
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The members' organisation announced the winners of its recent Diversity Challenge competition and hailed fintech startups in the UK for tackling the challenge of introducing diversity into the workplace.
“The UK is a global magnet for diversity,” said Innovate Finance CEO Lawrence Wintermeyer. “This country for 2,000 years has been diverse and is the home of diversity.”
Wintermeyer highlighted that in the technology industry "diversity is the key to success” as it drives innovation through a mixture of team energies and alternative ideas.
GLI Finance won the award for most influential voice in fintech and was recognised as an encourager for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth. World Remit collected the prize for fintech global champion, Zopa and Metrobank were highlighted as the most diverse partnership, and EdAid were named winners of the people’s choice award.
GLI Finance is an SME financier, World Remit is an online payment service, Zopa is a low-rate peer-to-peer lending service and EdAid is a community funding platform aimed at reducing higher education costs.
All of the firms involved were cited as making a huge contribution towards encouraging diversity in the industry by employing or helping people from all races, ethnicities, genders and age groups.
Tech London Advocate founder Russ Shaw highlighted that diversity was a hot topic at London Technology Week 2015.
“The problem seems to lie in the most senior positions – one in four tech companies have no women at board level,” he said.
“Diversity goes further than gender. We are learning how to build a change agenda focussed on greater gender diversity, which is excellent, but we must also begin to do this with respect to diversity as it relates to ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability.”
A growing theme over London Technology Week has been making sure the industry moves forward enough that these discussions will not need to be had again next year.
Innovate Finance brand ambassador and founder Claire Cockerton pointed out that a lack of talent in the tech industry is not the issue surrounding slow uptake of diversity in organisations, and more needs to be done too push the issue forward.
“We need many more choices to consumers when it comes to finance and now they have those choices,” she said. “We’ve too long been reporting similar statistics about diversity, about women on boards, about cultural diversity, about generational diversity, so it’s really time for us to make a move.”