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Why more individuals should get involved in startups.

Sophia Withers avatar

Sophia Withers

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Why more individuals should get involved in startups.

Have you ever considered getting involved in FinTech?

FinTech is the combination of finance and technology. It’s an emerging industry that sits right at the cusp of these two sectors. FinTech includes developments such as blockchain, NFTs, neo-banking capabilities and much more. It is changing the way the world manages and interacts with money through technology. While it might not be the sexiest of emerging industries, it has garnered a name for itself due to the potential to make an impactful difference in the world.

The only problem with FinTech is, very few people consider getting involved. By that I mean, the industry is predominantly built and run by a certain demographic. That leaves the industry dry of diverse perspectives.

Statistically speaking, the leadership positions in the finance industry and the technology industry are predominantly held by caucasian males. One could say, this leaves various underrepresented groups slightly out of the loop. The implications are numerous, and have been discussed abundantly. You can read more here.

Similarly, the media doesn’t do the financial or technology sector any favours. Movies such as Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short, which are based on real events, have glorified men in the finance industry. For the technology sector, countless movies and TV shows have successfully redefined the “tech geek” as the epitome of success.

Not only TV shows and movies, but social media and news that are meant to be reflecting reality are showing a similar demographic. TikTok has also officially branded the corporate finance stereotype as the patagonia-vest-wearing “finance bro”. And the only thing you seem to see on twitter is how the most accomplished tech men in the world can direct the trade market with a single tweet.

But I’m not here to be a film critic, or comment on how the media choose to represent the world of finance and technology. I’m here to convince young women, people of different racial backgrounds and people with vastly different social experiences, that FinTech is an accessible, open and an impactful industry that needs them.

From the outside it seems like the finance industry and the technology industry is exclusively reserved for a certain demographic. And many could assume that FinTech, being at the intersection of these two industries, is the same. But I can assure you it’s not. It’s so much more than what it seems.

I found my way into FinTech because of the power and influence it has to change the direction of our future. Money makes our world go round. Financial systems are what govern the transfer and management of money. But, currently the financial systems around the world are ancient, centralised and inaccessible to some. Technology is now finally changing this. There are many more examples I could give, but in short, FinTech is changing the way financial systems work and that, in itself, is very impactful. As I've said multiple times, this industry has the potential to drive real change in the world.

FinTech has the power to drive change in the world, but also can be personally rewarding. Multiple times I’ve noticed there’s a lack of diverse representation at networking events and FinTech discussions that can feel quite intimidating for anyone on the outside. Having felt this multiple times as a woman in this industry, I’ve tried to summon the courage to ask questions, get involved and express a different perspective. Without fail, every time I’ve voiced my opinions they have been very well received. I’ve always felt that my opinions are appreciated and add real value to the FinTech community.

FinTech needs different perspectives. If you will allow me a small metaphor: when designing a life jacket you don’t fit it to one body type, you need to take into account every body shape to make sure it keeps everyone above water. Getting the input from women, children and men to ensure safety, comfort and appropriate design. The same for the financial systems of the future. We want it to be designed for everyone, and that can only happen if individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds get involved.

I’ve found my way into FinTech and am now a co-founder of a startup in this space. I am part of a founding team of technological, financial and business experts. We have a diverse background, all being of different genders, ethnicities and ages. And we highly value diversity.

I met my team through networking events and open communities and I’m so glad I have. We’re all passionate about making a difference for a minority of the population through the power of blockchain technology. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

As someone who is not your typical “finance bro” or “tech geek”, you may feel pushback when trying to get involved in the FinTech sector. But I hope my story has reassured you that it’s more rewarding and less intimidating than you may have initially imagined.

If you do want to get involved in a FinTech community that is inviting and here to help individuals being their journey, sign up here.

PS: While this is not a diversity piece, I do want to mention that diversity comes in all shapes and sizes. It could mean gender, sexual orientation, age, socio economic status, ethnicity, cognitive variation (neurodivergent), life experience and much more.

Sophia Withers avatar

Sophia Withers

FinTech program manager @ Startupbootcamp Australia