New hub to support fintech entrepreneurs
Scotland's first financial technology business accelerator is to open its doors to entrepreneurs in May.
The new fintech hub will operate from an entrepreneurial centre set up a year ago at Royal Bank of Scotland's headquarters in Edinburgh.
Backed by both the UK and Scottish governments, it will provide free space and expertise to fintech entrepreneurs.
It aims to be a "centre of excellence" for a sector which was estimated to be worth £6.6bn to the UK economy in 2015.
Fintech encompasses innovation in financial services, including e-banking, payment technologies, crowdfunding and digital currencies like bitcoin.
The new development means fintech entrepreneurs will be given their own space at an expanded Entrepreneurial Spark "hatchery" for start-ups at Gogarburn.
Louise Smith, head of design in personal and business banking at RBS and a UK government fintech "envoy", said: "The fintech sector has huge potential for our economy so it is essential that these entrepreneurs are given all the support they need to ensure Scotland is at the heart of the fintech revolution."
Entrepreneurial Spark chief executive Lucy-Rose Walker said: "The new space is the first of its kind and will be a centre of excellence right at the heart of the financial services sector in Scotland.
"We're bringing together industry leaders and networks and marrying that with Entrepreneurial Spark's tried and tested approach to build, grow and scale businesses.
"All of that makes this a key milestone in Scotland's journey towards its ambition of being a world leader in fintech and innovation."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was delighted that the existing Entrepreneurial Spark hub was expanding to include space for fintech start-ups.
She said: "This will contribute to the immediate need for physical space for fintech companies while the wider financial services industry continues to work collectively to deliver the fintech strategy.
"Scotland is already playing an active role in the fintech sector and the strategy will further enhance our standing, both nationally and internationally."