Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week we see recent rises of new women-owned businesses; and the cost of living crisis takes precedence in company moves.
More women-owned businesses seek funding
The number of female business owners applying for revenue-based finance is on the rise, according to London-based financial provider 365 Business Finance.
Client statistics from the SME funding firm shows a much higher average of female clients than at the same point last year. Thirty-four per cent of its clients were women in May 2022; compared to just 25 per cent in May 2021.
While the increase in women-owned businesses is a step in the right direction, the disparity between men and women in this area is still significant. According to The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship Progress Report of 2022 (conducted by Natwest Group); new businesses are almost three times more likely to be started by men than women.
365 Business Finance has launched a new campaign – ‘#SheLeads’ – aiming to empower and inspire women to start their own businesses. Andrew Raphaely, MD, says: “Post-pandemic, it is extremely encouraging to see the number of female business owners applying for revenue-based finance on the increase.”
UK Bank upgrades tool to bolster budgeting skills
UK-based challenger bank Starling Bank has upgraded its ‘Spending Insights’ tool with the addition of 36 new spending categories.
It aims to improve customers’ ability to budget and track their spending as the nation faces the cost of living crisis.
Current account holders can now access 53 spending categories in total, with new categories including ‘relationship’ and ‘takeaway’ – as requested by customers. The update will also let customers apply to one of the new categories to all past or future transactions from particular merchants.
Helen Bierton, chief banking officer at Starling Bank, said: “Our customers have loved Starling’s Spending Insights since we launched in 2017. Knowledge is power when it comes to meeting your financial goals and we hope that by offering customers even more insight into their spending patterns, they’ll have more control of their personal and household budgets in order to adapt a little easier to the cost of living crisis.”
UK-based payments platform goes live
Nucleus365 has launched in the UK to offer an integrated payment solution for merchants seeking to access new and emerging markets.
Based in London, the new payments institution offers a platform for global payments and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Co-founder of Nucleus365, Sophie Flynn, explained: “Our mission is to become a market leader in payment services by offering merchants a single, unified access point.
“By building local connections and employing sophisticated back office technology, we ensure merchants can increase their global footprint whilst reducing cross border fees.”
Partnership protects consumers against fraud
Confirmation of Payee (CoP) provider SurePay has unveiled a partnership with Virgin Money to protect consumers against fraud and misdirected payments.
SurePay’s UK CoP solution will give consumers assurance that all payments will be sent to the intended recipient; ensuring that they are not accidentally or deliberately misdirected.
“We are committed to protecting our customers from fraud and confirmation of payee is a valuable tool in achieving that,” explained Fergus Murphy, chief customer experience officer, Virgin Money.
“SurePay has extensive experience in providing Confirmation of Payee solutions, both in the UK and other countries, which is why we chose to work with them to implement this important protection for our customers.”
Jeeves Growth arrives in the UK
Jeeves, the financial platform for global startups, has launched Jeeves Growth in the UK to offer SMEs an alternative approach to revenue-based financing.
Capital can be directly transferred in different local currencies – targeting those looking to finance their international and local operations.
Jeeves recently achieved unicorn status in its latest funding round – valuing the company at more than $2.1billion.
“Many of the UK’s most innovative and exciting startups have experienced the same struggle of accessing finance in order to grow their business,” said Matthieu Hafemeister, head of growth at Jeeves. “By expanding the geographical footprint of Jeeves Growth, we hope to give UK startups the most seamless way to extend their runway and continue scaling.”
HSBC to run fintech education course
HSBC has joined forces with Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, to help train thousands of employees across all areas of its business in fintech developments.
Fintech 101, a programme specifically designed for HSBC, will give foundation knowledge of the emerging technologies and how to use them. This is the first partnership of its kind between the University and the banking sector.
Eleanor Murray, associate dean for executive education at Oxford Saïd, commented: “We are seeing increasing demand for training in this space, as businesses work to keep up with the fast-changing world of financial technology.
“Our Fintech 101 will help give HSBC staff the knowledge to leverage technology and develop new digital products and services for their customers. I am delighted Oxford Saïd, is partnering with HSBC to bring this programme to life.”