I’ve blogged a few times about the Ukrainian conflict, and its impact on the FinTech community. It was interesting therefore to recently connect with Huw Davies. Huw is Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, Ozone API, and has previously worked with MasterCard, HSBC and Barclays. He’s now involved in supporting the Ukrainian FinTech community. Here’s how our conversation went.
Can you tell me what the project is about?
In short, Fintech Without Frontiers is about helping to connect fintech talent that has been displaced by the war in Ukraine with the constant demand for talent from the fintech industry.
It started with a simple conversation where we (the Ozone API founders) were discussing what we could do to help when the news emerged about the invasion of Ukraine.
We wanted to do something but as a growing business we don’t have the resources to sign a big cheque like a major corporation.
We knew we’d be creating roles and that fintech in Ukraine had been thriving, but on our own we wouldn’t make even the tiniest of dents. And that’s where it came from. We realised that as a collective, the fintech industry is hugely talent hungry and high growth and there must be an opportunity to help. That was how Fintech Without Frontiers started.
The idea is simple, to help create opportunity for those fleeing conflict by finding work among the many fintechs who need help on their own growth journey. The power of a collective will be far greater than each organisation operating on its own.
It’s a win win.
How do you think it will help?
Hopefully it will help on a number of fronts.
Firstly there are countless people whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict. They’ve had to leave homes, family and jobs to find safety. For each there’ll be a point where their focus turns to rebuilding lives and that will include finding work, wherever they are.
As I mentioned there is a huge amount of Ukrainian fintech talent, whether that is engineers, marketeers, sales, finance or HR. There’s a huge amount of talent who will be able to contribute significantly to businesses. So it’s about trying to make opportunities easier to find when the moment is right.
For fintech businesses and the industry it’s about helping to accelerate growth. We’re a fintech and finding the right hires is not always straightforward. So making roles more visible to talent can only be a good thing. I’ve been talking to many other fintech founders and the hunt for talent to fuel growth is a constant challenge.
Are there any results yet?
It’s still early days, but there’s some great momentum. The first stage was about creating a collective of fintech businesses. Basically sense checking that the idea made sense with other fintechs. We announced the initiative back in May 2022 and have had 24 businesses sign up including:
- Allica Bank
- Mosaic Health
- Open Banking Excellence
- Ozone API
- The Payments Association
- Tech Amigos
- Transfer Go
- Wealth Dynamix
That’s great, but it’s not the end, we want many, many more. The bigger the collective, the greater the opportunities.
The next phase, which we’re just starting, is about making the opportunities visible to the right people at the right moment (when they start seeking a new career opportunity). We’re still working the detail out, but it will be a combination of social media and working with the many organisations who are already helping. That could be aid organisations, embassies, industry associations and more.
What is the goal, how many companies you are aiming to involve?
Honestly, we’re not sure yet. But it is to have a positive impact. Both on people impacted by the conflict and looking to start rebuilding their lives and on the growth of the fintech industry and the businesses that form part of the collective.
I’d love to have hundreds of local and international fintechs participating, meaning that at any one time there’s a really wide range of job opportunities in different countries for the right people and that it results in more perfect matches.
What that means in numbers. I really don’t know yet. But we’re going to keep pushing to make it bigger and bigger.
Call to action: For any fintech businesses looking to take part, please just sign up at https://fintechwithoutfrontiers.com/
If you’re an organisation that could help connect displaced tech talent with job opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...