After the U.K.’s Brexit result, European countries have been attempting to overthrow the U.K. from the top position as a FinTech hub location. One European country that isn’t, however, is Belgium.
Instead, Belgium wants to create a bridge that supports FinTech startups between the two countries.
According to Finextra, Johan van Overtveldt, Belgium’s finance minister, has begun talks with U.K. FinTech agency Innovate Finance to get the two countries collaborating together.
Last October it was reported by Innovate Finance that while venture capital funding for FinTech companies grew around 150 percent in the first six months of 2016 – amounting to $13 billion of investment compared to $5 billion during the same period in 2015 – venture capital funding in the U.K. fell by a third.
While many may consider this a blow to London’s efforts to remain at the top with China gaining speed in the FinTech race, Brussels appears to believe that a supportive bridge between the U.K. and Belgium will be beneficial to them both.
During the talk with Innovate Finance, Van Overtveldt announced the launch of a new Brussels-based hub, which is aimed at supporting FinTech firms.
Called B-Hive, this is a FinTech platform that works with banks, insurers and market infrastructure players to facilitate local startups that may be experiencing challenges. It has also gained support from the Belgium government, attracting new backers from the financial industry.
Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, is reported as saying that the result of Brexit will not prevent financial technology firms from advancing in the U.K. and Europe.
Many continental fintechs continue to see London as an attractive destination and we are keen to support future collaborations for our members on the continent with B-Hive.
By establishing a supportive network between the two countries, Van Overtveldt believes that this will help to create new offices on the continent in addition to boosting the U.K. as an ideal destination for Belgium companies to grow.
Even though other major European countries are attempting to remove the U.K. from the top of the FinTech ladder, it seems as though Belgium sees an opportunity that could help both of the countries out in the long run.
By doing so, this could impact both nations: Belgium gains the leverage it needs to become an established FinTech country while the U.K. retains its hold at the top.
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