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A host of “innovation hubs” are set to be launched in cities across the UK today as part of a Treasury-backed plans to boost the growth of fintech beyond London.
The hubs have been announced as part of the launch of the new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), a key recommendation of the government-commissioned Kalifa review of fintech two years ago, led by former Worldpay boss Sir Ron Kalifa.
Innovation hubs will now be set up across the country, with centres in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol. CFIT will act as a “central convening force” and set “strategic priorities and drive growth in the sector”, the organisation said today.
The chair of CFIT and former Open Banking Implementation Entity chief Charlotte Crosswell hailed the launch as a “significant moment for the UK’s fintech sector and our economy more widely”.
“The UK is already a leader in fintech but the global race for leadership is very competitive, CFIT’s job is to scale fintech UK-wide, galvanising the devolved administrations, metro mayors and universities to unlock the next chapter of growth, skills and job creation.” Crosswell added
CFIT also announced it will partner with universities around the UK to offer placements to students, in an attempt to boost the flow of domestic talent to fintech firms.
Fears over the supply of skilled workers to the UK’s innovation has been brought into sharp relief in recent weeks after the Treasury withdrew the funding of tech body Tech Nation, which ran a visa programme to fast track tech workers into the UK.
The Treasury backed CFIT with £5.5m in seed funding in 2021 under then-chancellor Rishi Sunak, which Sir Ron Kalifa described as the “outstanding piece of the jigsaw” needed to deliver a full strategy for the national fintech sector.
In a statement today, Kalifa said he was “thrilled” to see CFIT launch and said it would help the UK drive growth in the sector.
“I have no doubt that it will enable the UK’s fintech sector to become more competitive, and I look forward to seeing the impact it will have across the UK in the weeks, months and years to come,” he added.