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Shaping the future of finance

How UK fintech can seize a £274 billion opportunity

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As mentioned yesterday, I had the pleasure of moderating a fireside chat with Joanne (Jo) Dewar during IFGS last week. If you don’t know Jo, she’s a bit of a legend. You can find out all details here and, although she has achieved a lot in her career, her latest move is an interesting one: to champion disability inclusion through fintech.

It all started when a young man joined her office who was like a ray of sunshine. He had a disability, but it changed her thinking and she wanted to do something more about it. Therefore, after leaving her founder’s role and wondering what to do next, Jo started Project Nemo.

Project Nemo is urging the fintech industry to better serve the UK’s largest minority. More than 1 in 5 people live with a disability in the UK, representing an estimated £274 billion a year in spending power and, globally, some estimate this figure to be as high as £16 trillion (1). In spite of the fact that 24% of the British working age population has a disclosed disability, there is also anecdotal evidence indicating low levels of disability employment in UK fintech (2).

Project Nemo is a 12-month initiative, providing a wake up call and step change in disability inclusion across the fintech industry. It is focused on long-term systemic change in three ways:

  1. Educating: Improving awareness of the barriers and opportunities for fintech to be more inclusive to those with disabilities and lived experiences.
  2. Empowering: Connecting fintech business leaders, allies, advocates and those with lived experience to a toolkit of resources and expertise that will enable them to build inclusive workplaces, products and services.
  3. Showcasing: Sharing and celebrating progress.

A cornerstone of the initiative is Project Nemo’s Fintech Festival of Inclusion, an events programme to empower fintech business leaders to adopt incremental changes as part of their longer term inclusion journey. Each workshop event will bring together disability expertise, champions and success stories with the fintech community, to help fintech leaders implement change. The outputs of each workshop will contribute to a practical guide with case studies, culminating with a complete e-book and podcast series for the fintech community.

The launch of Project Nemo is officially announced at the Innovate Finance Global Summit by disability inclusion champion and fintech industry leader, Joanne Dewar. Jo took to the stage with best-selling fintech author and commentator, Chris Skinner, calling on fintech organisations to join the initiative.

Jo Dewar, Project Nemo lead, says: “What started as isolated conversations a year ago have rapidly gathered momentum and, in just a few short months we are launching at IFGS. I have long held the mantle on equity and inclusion in fintech and yet I have never received such unequivocal support and personal resonance around one issue - disability inclusion. It is a massive missed opportunity for fintech.

“Fintech thinks of itself as the future of financial services, and we have made great strides in streamlining, broadening reach and lowering costs. But if we ever want to truly achieve mainstream adoption beyond the digital natives, we need to ensure that our workplaces, all of our products and services fully consider accessibility.”

Project Nemo will kickstart conversations, convene allies and connect experts. The initiative’s goal is to create a lasting legacy of continual progress towards a more inclusive fintech industry and services.

Several organisations have already put their weight behind the initiative, including:

  • Fintech Fringe: A community dedicated to supporting fintechs scale and grow
  • Fintech North: The focal point for fintech in the North of England
  • Fintech Week London: Week-long events series for fintech and financial services
  • Fox Williams: Global corporate law firm specialised in financial services and technology
  • Greenings Global Talent Advisors: Fintech & payments executive search and leadership
  • Harrington Starr: Global financial tech recruitment
  • Innovate Finance: independent industry body representing UK Fintech
  • Missive: Fintech Comms & DE&I Consulting specialist
  • Money20/20: global sales, content and networking platform and event series.
  • Payments Association: the largest community in payments for the UK, Europe and Asia
  • Payments Innovation Forum: The not-for-profit voice of innovation in payments

You can watch a short video of our chat here, and if you want to know more or, ideally, get involved, then go to


  1. Purple Goat Agency: What is the Purple Pound, 2023
  2. ONS: Labour Force Survey, 2023
Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, 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...

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