Responsible finance urged for Middle East-linked FinTechs

    16 Dec 2021

    The Responsible Finance and Investment (RFI) Foundation, in partnership with HSBC Middle East Ltd, is working to accelerate the adoption of responsible finance by FinTechs, GDNonline reports.

     The newly-launched RFI’s Global Virtual Innovation (GVI) Hub is striving to bring responsible finance to the forefront at FinTech startups during their early development stages. The goal of the intervention is to equip FinTechs with enhanced capabilities to integrate responsible finance practices across the financial sector in the Middle East.

     The GVI Hub, a year-long initiative, is a virtual innovation platform developed by RFI’s Emissary members and supported by the Emissary Leadership Group. The GVI Hub focuses on several methods of action to provide support and new opportunities for FinTechs in the Middle East.  

    Through the GVI Hub, a pilot cohort has been testing the FinTech program since September 2021. RFI is providing three diverse FinTechs at different stages of development – Ethis, Fasset and Kestrl – with the knowledge, skills and tools that can help them better align their businesses with responsible finance.

     The first GVI Hub cohort, which will run from January to April 2022, will deliver hands-on learning and experience in Sustainability, Responsible Finance and Impact Strategy to up to 15 FinTech startups. This program will be opened up to other Middle East-linked FinTech startups from early 2022 to further promote the adoption of responsible finance.  

     In addition to the first GVI Hub cohort, the next phase of GVI Hub activities will be an Open Innovation Call, to be opened for submissions early next year. This GVI Call will offer FinTech startups and founders an opportunity to develop solutions to support financial institutions’ efforts in supporting their own or national Net Zero policies.  

    Blake Goud, CEO of the RFI Foundation, commented: “The RFI’s Global Virtual Innovation Hub has seen excellent engagement on responsible finance by our three pilot cohort members. We’re excited to expand the GVI Hub program as we recruit the first full cohort next year. This program will be a catalyst for supporting FinTechs in the Middle East who will be key partners for financial institutions delivering climate-centric innovation to leverage new data to accelerate the decarbonization trend for regional economies in line with government Net Zero targets set by several countries around the COP 26 climate summit.”

    Sabrin Rahman, Managing Director & Head of Sustainability for Europe and the Middle East, added: “HSBC Middle East has seen the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues rise in the Middle East, and recognizes the RFI Foundation’s Global Virtual Innovation Programme as an ideal way to accelerate the adoption of responsible finance for FinTechs operating in the region. This program provides startups with cutting-edge tools and relevant strategies to enable them to align their businesses and promote innovation within responsible finance. We are excited to see the FinTechs that graduate from this program go on to use their creativity and agility to drive innovation for the entire financial services ecosystem in the Middle East.”

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