By: Daniel Schutte
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Recent events in the financial services industry serve as a necessary and unpleasant learning opportunity for all of us, especially in the entrepreneurial support space.
They’re a stark reminder that the industry as a whole, especially banks, must take a proactive approach to exploring, supporting and adopting new solutions and platforms to navigate the rapidly evolving technological landscape.
As a staunch advocate for entrepreneurship, I want to emphasize the critical role that entrepreneurs play in driving the financial industry’s growth and development. Nearly 70% of banks agree with me and view fintech partnerships as either extremely important or important. When you add in somewhat important that figure jumps to 96%.
The financial services market must rally behind building a supportive ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs of all stripes to thrive. This entails an unparalleled level of cooperation and collaboration between financial institutions and entrepreneurs to identify, fund and launch new partnerships.
At The Venture Center, we’re engaging on a daily basis with small businesses, accelerator alumni and other varieties of startups, especially in the financial technology space. We work, especially through events like VenCent, so that leaders and decision-makers at the regional and local bank levels have the opportunity to experience and hear from innovators who are creating the future of the industry. In this current climate, entrepreneurs, particularly those with disruptive ideas, often face significant challenges in securing funding and accessing critical resources.
To that end, we implore our banking partners to continue driving sustainable and predictable innovation through startup partnerships so we can continue creating an environment where startups thrive. Let’s not allow broader market concerns to stifle innovation and product adoption, especially here in Arkansas where fintech first began, as it would set the industry back years.
A reminder to friends in banking: Difficult decisions made during the hard times are the ones that create truly great companies. Be bold. Let’s work together to create an environment that fosters high-impact, high-evidence innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. Financial institutions must collaborate with entrepreneurs early on to identify and seize opportunities to drive change and create realistic, meaningful solutions.
Consider cybersecurity, regulatory technology, machine learning, customer service and digital engagement — smart innovation plays a critical role in driving growth and development in the financial services industry, and technology actually diminishes risk when used for specific challenges. This makes now a critical time for banking leaders to lean into fintech. This is why, at The Venture Center, by rallying around entrepreneurs and creating an ecosystem that’s not solely risk-averse, we can build a brighter future for the industry where predictable innovation is embraced and entrepreneurs can thrive.