My first FinTech Cluster meeting

You would think I had enough of clusters, what with trying to lead CyberNorth and playing an active role in UKC3, the UK’s cluster of cyber clusters. Apparently not as this week I found myself at my first meeting of the North East FinTech Steering Group. Not that this was its first meeting, I think it may even have been its third but it was the first one that I could get to.

The group had come about following the publication of a 3 year FinTech growth strategy for the North East, developed for the North of Tyne Combined Authority by Whitecap consulting and many other stakeholders. Dynamo and CyberNorth were among the stakeholders.

It makes a lot of sense for Wayne from Dynamo to be involved, after all FinTech is one of the areas identified for development as part of its strategy. The argument for CyberNorth is less clear, though it did in a way, get a mention in the strategy itself. It’s on page 26 if you are interested but more of that in a moment.

My interest in getting involved was straight in my head. There is a clear relationship with FinTech and cyber security. Anywhere where there is data moving about there is the potential for vulnerability and if that data relates to cash then all the better. Someone once said to me that if you are going to steal anything then cash is best as you can spend it anywhere. If the North East is going to be a leader in FinTech then it makes absolute sense to have the expertise in cyber security to go with it.

There is another motive for me, one I referred to a paragraph before. If you have been reading my blog long enough you will know that I have been trying to develop a cyber security innovation centre in the region. Again, back to page 26 of the strategy which states ‘A consistent and recurring theme throughout the research process has been the unanimous demand for a physical focal point for FinTech in the North East, in the form of one or more hubs.’

Seeing that there is a close relationship between FinTech and cyber security then joining forces on some sort of hub, hubs, centre or centres, either physical, online or hybrid, would make absolute sense. Well it does to me at least.

Three sub-groups have been formed to look at some of the key areas coming out of the strategy. Unsurprisingly these are very similar to the areas that CyberNorth is working on. I have managed to align myself to the sub-group which includes development of the hub.

I think it’s time to dust down that green book business case. It might even need an iron!

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