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FinTech Awards Wales – Exclusive Interview: Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy

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Matt Hyde, Director of FinTech Awards Wales Meets:

Vaughan Gething,

Minister for Economy at Welsh Government

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As part of our new interview series, Matt Hyde, Director of Recruit121 and FinTech Awards Wales, talks to professionals in Wales thriving FinTech Sector. This week Matt caught up with Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy at Welsh Government.

Tell us about your main focus at Welsh Government

My focus is on creating a stronger, fairer, greener Welsh economy. That involves working with the private sector to create good well-paid jobs, ensuring people have the skills they need to get on in life and ensuring companies have the skilled talent they need to succeed. It also involves helping people to start their own business, supporting companies to grow and thrive, and ensuring we attract inward investors to make their future part of our future here in Wales.

Overall, my department covers a wide range of responsibilities – from Economic Development, Skills and Apprenticeships, Tourism & Major Events and Digital, to Sport, Heritage and Culture. These responsibilities include leading the Trade and Invest work of the Welsh Government, and, importantly, in relation to these awards, driving forward the Export Action Plan for Wales. I’m committed to ensuring we do everything in our power to help Welsh companies sell their goods and services in global markets.

What impact do you feel FinTech Awards Wales are making in the FinTech sector in Wales?

It’s great to see how the Welsh FinTech sector is fast becoming one of the UK’s leading Fintech ecosystems.

Having met delegates on the Welsh Government Trade Mission to UAE earlier this year, I saw first-hand the work of Fintech Wales and quality of Fintech companies operating in Wales looking to export across the globe.

The Awards are contributing to that by helping to raise the profile of Wales’ financial services sector. I also think they play an important role in creating a platform where we can celebrate success.  I believe success breeds success, and it’s really inspiring and encouraging to see Welsh businesses, particularly our start-ups, achieving so much on the world stage.

Why have you chosen to support the Awards and in particular the Exporter of the Year Award?

The Welsh Government is committed to being a globally responsible nation. We have always been an outward facing nation, and recognise the important role exporting plays in this regard. Our Export Action Plan for Wales sets out our approach to growing Welsh exports and embedding a culture of international trade in Wales.

A key component of the Plan focusses on encouraging exporters, and that’s why we have chosen to sponsor the FinTech Exporter of the Year Award. We wanted to highlight the value of exporting, not just for Wales’ economy but for the companies themselves.

Exporting is a fantastic way to grow a business, and so many of our FinTech companies in Wales have the potential to take their products and services to the global marketplace. The Exporter of the Year Award allows us to shine a spotlight on some of our Welsh companies who are successfully doing that and, hopefully, inspire others to start their export journey.

How do you feel the Welsh economy has fared post Covid and what predictions do you have for the next 12 months?

The Welsh Government worked tirelessly to support businesses across Wales to survive the impact of Covid. We continue to support Welsh Businesses to grow and thrive. Clearly, the ongoing fallout from the UK’s exit from the EU, the conflict in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis and the economic shocks caused by the UK Government’s recent “mini budget” raises serious concerns for businesses. However, the Welsh Government is doing everything we can, using the powers and other resources available to us, to support Wales through these difficult times.

What is Welsh Government doing today to support the FinTech in the future?

Our support of the Tech Export Cluster is just one example of how my department is growing the Welsh FinTech sector with dedicated support. Elsewhere, we’re focussing on vital aspects such as attracting international FinTechs to bolster our eco-system, creating new opportunities and bringing in new expertise and expanding capacity. We’re also looking at how we can ensure Wales has the skills to meet these new challenges.  Key to all this is our partnership with stakeholders, especially FinTech Wales.

Finally what’s the best advice you were given and what advice you would give?

The best personal advice I was given was to make time for my son whist he was young – “he will only be this young once and you should enjoy it. That means you need to say no to some people in order to spend time with him and your wife.” The best ministerial advice I was given was that I should have priorities and make sure I have space and time to review whether I'm achieving them. There is so much activity to work through that you can get lost and have no priorities at all. Being able to decide what success looks like and have a sense of priority isn't just important for ministers. It matters in most parts of life.