FinTech innovation and education has received a boost following a strategic partnership announced between Fintech Consortium (FinCon) and the US Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Possible collaborations include the development of FinTech certificate and degree programmes, joint innovation labs, joint research and publication, and the exchange of FinTech ecosystem data.
Furthermore, FinCon will facilitate faculty and student exchanges and provide complete access to its global hubs in Bahrain and Singapore for the purposes of research and academic residencies.
Bahrain Fintech Bay is operated by FinCon, a global ecosystem builder which also has a hub in the US operated as part of a global network.
As reported in GulfWeekly, Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB), is the largest FinTech hub in the Middle East and Africa, and already working with established industry leaders and new entrants from Bahrain and around the world to drive innovation and create opportunities for growth.
Georgetown McDonough School of Business is based in Washington DC and is also home to the Georgetown Centre for Financial Markets and Policy, which is leading the way in FinTech education. This spring, it launched the school’s first undergraduate FinTech course, and partners with the Chamber of Digital Commerce to present an annual Blockchain Summit.
The centre also connects practitioners to scholarships and last year partnered with the World Economic Forum to produce research on ‘The Complex Regulatory Landscape for FinTech’ in collaboration with professors and MBA students. Maissan Al Maskati, chairman of FinCon, said: “Whether it’s the education of the next generation of entrepreneurs or the retraining of an existing work force, the development of human talent is the most critical component of any Fintech ecosystem.
“Learning to think, plan and execute differently, is all part of the journey that any global financial centre must embrace. In Singapore and Bahrain we see a particular emphasis on the development of a skilled local workforce in financial services, and a serious intent by key stakeholders to adapt to a future determined by technology.
“We are excited about our partnership with Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and look forward to working with them to bring a unique educational offering to our platform while jointly collaborating on projects that further contribute to FinTech innovation.”
Founded in 1957, Georgetown McDonough is home to some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students and boasts 1,200 participants in executive degree or custom programmes.
Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley chair of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, who is an academic expert on innovation and strategy, said: “Everything from technological advances like Fintech or the impacts of globalisation is changing the way business operates.
“Jobs are going to look different than they have in the past. This is why it is important for schools like Georgetown McDonough to ensure our students and alumni gain the right skills, mindsets, and relationships to be successful. This is why our faculty need to be at the forefront of producing thought leadership about these changes. And, this is why we must be innovative in our approaches to changing how and what we teach.
“We are pleased to partner with the FinCon to collaborate, innovate, and explore how to best adapt to the many opportunities presented by FinTech.”
The US Chamber of Digital Commerce and Georgetown University’s Centre for Financial Markets and Policy recently brought more than 600 participants to its third annual DC Blockchain Summit, held in Washington, DC.
Led by its president Perianne Boring, it featured discussions from more than 70 global leaders on a range of topics, including key market developments, initial coin offerings, bitcoin futures, trading and investing in cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, legislative and regulatory trends, and more.
Digital revolution moves further into kingdom’s retail space
The launch of digital retail banking operations in Bahrain by one of the region’s mighty industry conglomerates heralds a major step forward for FinTech on the island, according to champions of the sector.
Called meem, its recent glitzy inauguration in Bahrain was also a significant milestone for Gulf International Bank (GIB) as it paves the way for further regional expansion. GIB initially launched its digital banking services arm in neighbouring Saudi Arabia in 2015. Mohammed Al Garni, GIB Group head of retail banking, said: “We aim to provide a personal service to our customers, making it easy for them to manage their money efficiently. We would like our customers to think of meem as ‘the smart digital bank at the tip of their fingers’.”
Over time, customers in meem Bahrain and meem Saudi Arabia will benefit from the services offered in both countries where they can operate their accounts in a unified banking channel.
One of the first to send his congratulations was Khalid Saad, CEO at Bahrain FinTech Bay, who said: “This is a key step in the development of the FinTech ecosystem.”
Rasheed Al Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, attended the technology-driven launch event as the guest of honour in the meem store at The Avenues, Bahrain, and said it underlined ongoing commitment and successes in attracting FinTech specialists to the kingdom.
The Minister of Oil, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, along with other dignitaries, also attended the event.
meem offers an all day and night, all year round service on its mobile app and web banking portal, allowing customers to open and manage their accounts, conducting everyday transactions through its online channel, supported by services such as a video contact centre, email, web chat and social media.
Banking with meem, the company says, ‘is simple and user friendly’. Bahrain customers can now apply to open a One Pack account which meem says combines the benefits of both current and savings accounts. The account comes with a debit card capable of linking to multiple foreign currency accounts. Other products such as online Murabaha term deposits, credit cards and personal finance will be added in due course.
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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