LONDON: Two of the most influential changemakers in the world of ethical digital finance have joined the Fintech Diversity Radar initiative which is developing the first dataset and benchmark for diversity in global fintech. Appointed as Ambassadors for the project are Dr Jane Thomason, an award-winning social impact champion and author, and Dr James Mwangi, Group Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings. Dr Mwangi is widely credited with democratizing financial access and was the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award Honoree.

The Fintech Diversity Radar initiative has been launched by data analytics firm, findexable, in collaboration with key global partners to fill a critical gap in data on how and where women are employed in fintech globally and to help the fintech industry understand the importance of diversity in right-fitting companies for the future. The first phase of the project will include a comprehensive up-to-date overview of gender diversity and success stories in global fintech, followed by the development of a digital scorecard and roadmap for the advancement of opportunities for women in the sector.

“As the global rise of fintech challengers everywhere is showing, tomorrow’s leaders require a new set of skills to succeed, and critically, the right culture, commitment and creativity to build innovative businesses that contribute to social mobility and thriving innovation ecosystems,” says findexable co-founder Denise Gee. “We are delighted to welcome Dr Thomason and Dr Mwangi as flag bearers and advisors for the Fintech Diversity Radar, both serving as shining examples of harnessing innovation for the good of society,” explains Gee.

Dr Mwangi took over a technically insolvent building society in Kenya in 1993. From a staff complement of 27, Equity Bank now has an asset base of USD 9 billion and nearly 7000 employees. The bank operates an innovative and inclusive business model that has demonstrated the capability to evolve its products to include new approaches to credit and lending, and the introduction of agency banking, which is nurturing entrepreneurs, creating jobs and generating wealth for thousands of households. Dr James Mwangi also established the Equity Group Foundation which has committed USD 465M for social impact programs in Education and Leadership Development, Health, Enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion, Food and Agriculture, Energy and Environment and Social Protection.

Talking about his participation in the Fintech Diversity Radar initiative, Dr Mwangi says: "If we dare to dream about a life of impact, the journey starts today. Women with their distinguished instinct for caring should be part of this journey.”

Dr Mwangi challenges the fintech industry to open its doors to women. And women to use the opportunities to become drivers, not passengers. “Fintech is on the brink of transforming the world, but it is time for the financial services industry to move beyond the talk. We should drive business for purpose, embrace people centricity and equity, and enable entrepreneurship so that we shape a world where everyone can prosper.”

Dr Thomason, a world-renowned futurist and advocate for sustainable societal change through innovation and technology is co-founder of the British Blockchain and Frontier Technology Association and advisor of blockchain associations in several emerging markets. Dr Thomason has been widely published, with three books and multiple articles and book chapters on the impact of blockchain in business, healthcare, education and government.

Stressing the importance of digital innovation, Dr Thomason believes: “Fintech‌ ‌has‌ ‌the‌ ‌power‌ ‌to‌ ‌remove‌ ‌barriers,‌ ‌increase‌ ‌access‌ ‌to‌ ‌financial‌ ‌services‌ ‌among‌ ‌poor‌ ‌and marginal‌ ‌communities,‌ ‌and‌ ‌link‌ ‌the‌ ‌digital‌ ‌economy‌ ‌together. It ‌will‌ ‌play‌ ‌an‌ ‌essential‌ ‌role‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ economic‌ ‌recovery‌ ‌in‌ ‌2021‌ ‌and‌ ‌beyond.”

She stresses that there has never been a more important time to address women’s equality, with the regressive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “With women controlling $20 trillion in annual consumer spending – according to Harvard Business Review – representing a growth market bigger than China and India combined, women simply must play their part in fintech innovation.”