Fintech Miconex collected the Social Impact award at the Scottish Financial Technology Awards 2022 – recognising the firm’s commitment to positively impact towns and cities.

Trailblazing initiatives to address socio-economic challenges and positively impact communities were the driver for Miconex receiving a prestigious industry award. The Perth based fintech picked up the Social Impact Award at the Scottish Financial Technology Awards on the 6th October 2022.

Hosted at Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel, the Scottish Financial Technology Awards were the closing event of the Scotland Fintech Festival, in celebration of the resilience and innovation displayed by the sector over the past two years.

DIGIT founder Ray Bugg said: “The reach and influence of Scottish fintech is becoming an ever more international proposition, but that doesn’t negate the importance of innovation in this space that positively affects local communities here in Scotland. Miconex’s local gift card initiative is a wonderful example of how local authorities and the private sector can work together for the benefit of the communities they serve, making Miconex worthy winners of the Social Impact award at this year’s Scottish Financial Technology Awards.”

In Scotland, Miconex worked alongside Scotland’s Towns Partnership to introduce a local gift card for every area of Scotland, the first initiative of its scale in the world. Backed by the Scottish Government, the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card initiative is designed to power inclusive and sustainable local economies.

Local authorities in Scotland have chosen to use their Scotland Loves Local Gift Card programme to disburse over £12 million of funds within their communities, utilising Covid Economic Recovery Funding awarded by the Scottish Government.

In August, Glasgow City Council distributed 85,000 Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Cards to low income families in the city to boost the economy and help families cope with the rising cost of living. Over £5 million has already been spent with the 1200 plus Glasgow businesses signed up to accept the gift card.

One of the most popular independent businesses to spend the cards was David Cox Butchers in Bridgeton. Owner George Gilmore said:

“The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is a great initiative from the Scottish Government, and the disbursement of the £105 gift cards from Glasgow City Council has been hugely beneficial for my business. We had lots of people in the shop spending the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card in a short time, which is fantastic.

“As well as regular customers using their cards with us, we also saw lots of new faces. These were people who were choosing to shop local as a direct result of the gift card. And the great thing is that we’ve seen these people back in the shop, choosing to shop local, even once their gift card has been spent. I think the gift card has done what it set out to do, to show people they can get really good quality products and great service when they shop local.”

The use of Miconex’s gift card technology to disburse funds is a model used in other areas of Scotland to great success. In East Ayrshire, East Ayrshire Council used its local gift card to disburse funds with dignity to families in receipt of free school meals. The East Ayrshire Gift Card was used by families to buy essentials such as food, toys and clothes.

Technology from Miconex has also been utilised to enact behaviour change. Falkirk Council used the District Towns Gift Card to reward participants for travelling in an active way or using public transport in their Take the Right Route campaign.

Scotland’s Towns Partnership chief officer Phil Prentice said: “Congratulations to the team at Miconex. Working with our partners alongside them, Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are helping to make a real difference to communities across the country, encouraging people to choose local, spend with businesses in their region and lock money into their local economies.”

Miconex first introduced its Town & City Gift Card concept in 2015 in Perth, using a model that is fee free for businesses. The firm launched its Downtown Gift Card concept into North America in 2020, working alongside EML Payments Limited (ASX: EML). Following significant expansion, Miconex’s Town & City Gift Card and Downtown Gift Card programmes are active in over 150 places in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA. Over 10,000 businesses are part of Miconex’s economy boosting local gift card programmes, with over £25million spent in local businesses to date.

In 2022, Miconex continued the rollout of its new digital gifting technology for towns and cities, giving places the opportunity to meet the increasing demand for digital gift cards and utilising a new global Love Local brand. Miconex’s digital technology works though the Mastercard network. Over 28 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland have launched digital gift cards to date with Miconex.

''Our client Miconex's latest in a string of recent awards proves the fintech continues to positively impact society through payments innovation across Scotland and beyond. EML Payments is proud to help Miconex ease the cost-of-living burden on families and businesses with payments solutions infusing much-needed revenues back into the heart of local life and communities,'' said Ailie Kofoid, Group Executive, Gifting at EML Payments.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex said: “As a fintech born in Scotland, it was an honour to receive the Social Impact award at the Scottish Financial Technology Awards. This award is testament to the vision and determination of our places and partners to transform local communities and drive social change by introducing their own economy boosting local currency, and to our team, who are there to support them every step of the way.

“Across the world, our local gift cards are being used in innovative ways to lock spend in locally, support low income households and disburse funds, reward and incentivise staff, drive footfall and provide support for businesses across a range of sectors. With the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Towns Partnership are showing the tangible, measurable impact that local gift cards can have to drive positive change, innovation and inclusive economic growth.”