NatWest will deliver a ‘hackathon’ on Tuesday 23rd November to help more budding business minds and entrepreneurs in the UK to reach their full potential.
The free virtual session will see experts from the bank guide attendees through creative problem solving, ideas generation, building out a business model and associated customer personas plus pitching and teamwork.
It will focus on connecting with communities that may be less likely to engage in traditional finance and funding routes including those facing socio-economic barriers, people living with disabilities, ethnic minorities, migrants and others.
It falls during “Finclusion 2021”, a new initiative running throughout November that has been launched by Tech Nation, the UK’s growth platform for scaling tech companies, to explore how tech can address current societal barriers to financial exclusion.
The hackathon will be underpinned by a ‘problem statement’ that was devised by leading business heads during a Roundtable organised by the bank in early November including Mark Miller MBE, co-founder at UKBlack Tech; Sabrina Shadie of the D’Rose Development Consultancy Ltd; Joel Blake OBE, CEO at GFA Exchange; and Dr Eva Kasperova, a Research Fellow at Aston Business School. The statement reads:
How do we encourage and assist those communities less inclined to seek finance and funding solutions – through the use of technology – to reduce financial exclusion?
The discussion was led by Debbie Lewis, Local EcoSystem Manager from NatWest, where the expert attendees examined their own experience and that of those in their communities.
Mark Miller MBE, a co-founder at UKBlack Tech, believes cultural differences lie at the heart of the issue. He said:
“Historically, minority cultural groups haven’t engaged with lenders and banks, and I believe some of that comes down to trust but more simply, understanding. Financial literacy is huge. We need a glossary for different financial terms as a starter to help minority groups realise lenders want to help, not hinder.”
Sabrina Shadie from the D'Rose Development Consultancy Ltd thinks that despite the multitude of advice available, new SMEs just don’t have the time.
“I’ve learnt from experience that people can’t engage with information when they are running a small operation. When you are at the beginning of your journey, you are trying to put all the hours you have into paying the bills, there’s no time to actualise what your business could become. We need to address that approach to business.“
Victoria Roberts, Director of the Fintech Delivery Panel at Tech Nation commented:
“The Finclusion campaign is an opportunity for the UK fintech sector to apply its strength of innovation and ideas to tackling financial exclusion, ensuring no-one is excluded and no-one is left behind. We’re delighted that NatWest has joined this campaign and are driving the discussions, debate and activity needed to inspire future fintech founders to address these important societal questions.”
Following the roundtable, Debbie Lewis, Regional Ecosystem Manager at NatWest, said:
“The roundtable discussion was incredibly informative as we shaped the upcoming hackathon. As part of NatWest’s purpose-led strategy, we are committed to championing potential in all communities, and whilst we know there is some great work being done both at NatWest and in the wider community, we know there is more we can do.
“The hackathon as part of Tech Nation’s Finclusion campaign will hopefully provide us with some exciting and innovative ideas that we can look to implement so we can better support entrepreneurs from all communities with their financial goals.”
The hackathon is open to any potential entrepreneurs and new businesses. Attendees are being invited to sign-up by visiting: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/finclusionuk2021-financial-inclusion-hackathon-tickets-188564460377.