The Ireland South East Financial Services Cluster was one of the 15 successful Priming Grant applicants awarded funding under the Regional Enterprise Innovation Scoping Scheme (REISS) 2022 with Enterprise Ireland.
REISS aims to target grant aid at projects which will improve the resilience and international competitiveness of enterprises across all regions. The Financial Services project aims to anchor a cluster facility and to build out a Fintech Centre of Excellence (FTCoE), located in Kilkenny, and linked with South East Technological University and the Walton Institute.
Project partners across the cluster will be led by Cluster Champion Terry Clune of CluneTech to create a holistic ecosystem to enable start-ups to experiment their innovative financial products or services within a well-defined space and duration. The project aims to support 25 start-ups over a period of five years.
Welcoming the funding announcement, Cluster Champion Terry Clune, CEO of software technology group, CluneTech, which includes Ireland’s latest tech unicorn, TransferMate, said:
“Providing an environment in which innovation can thrive is vital for the development and growth of new businesses, products and services. Our experience with TransferMate, as well as other CluneTech companies such as Immedis and Taxback International, shows that, with the right ideas, support and a lot of hard work, Irish start-ups have every potential to become global leaders in their fields.
There are incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Financial Services and Technology sectors and the infrastructure, resources, coaching/ mentorship, technology support and funding available through the proposed Fintech Centre of Excellence will be invaluable to emerging start-ups in these sectors.”
With Ireland recognised as a global financial services and technology hub, Ireland South East continues to build on its long-established record in these sectors, with homegrown Ireland South East success stories including TransferMate, Bluefin, Accelerated Payments, Sprintax, Sedicii, Taxback International, Immedis, UBO Services, and Fund Recs, operating alongside national-based firms and global financial services giants in areas such as money transfer and payments, lending, wealth management, crowdfunding, distribution ledger technology and digital currencies. The region is powerfully placed to benefit from the strong bases in both sectors.
Innovative support for start-ups through the Fintech Centre of Excellence (FTCoE) will be underpinned by the cluster network as a research and educational think tank which brings together educators, researchers and global pioneers in financial technology and digital finance to address the unique opportunities, risks and strategic priorities posed by financial technology for incumbents, disruptors, service providers and advisers.
The FTCoE will be positioned to be at the forefront of this new shift in financial services and delve into current issues surrounding the customer experience and a variety of topics including merger acquisitions, regulatory impact, AI, blockchain, cryptocurrency and cross-border issues impacted by the rise of fintech.
Through the FTCoE the collaborative cluster network will seek to provide the tools and frontier research to regulators, financial institutions, and governments in emerging areas such as Open Banking, Privacy, and the role of Artificial Intelligence in financial services.