The UK government-backed Tech Nation has picked 20 early-stage startups to join its new fintech programme, promising to give them intensive backing to help grow their businesses and the country's financial technology ecosystem.
First unveiled as part of the government's fintech sector strategy in March, the new programme will see participants get the chance to work with and learn from some of the UK's top fintech entrepreneurs.
Over five months, firms will get coaching sessions around the UK and access to field experts before making a networking trip to the US to meet potential investors and partners.
The 20 firms picked to join the first cohort work in areas such as payments, financial inclusion, regtech, AI, SME financing, Open Banking, and cryptocurrencies.
Tech UK is stressing the regional variety, with a third of participants from outside of London, headquartered in places like Norwich, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester. Some 40% of the 20 also have female founders or co-founders.
Eileen Burbidge, chair, Tech Nation and HM Treasury’s special envoy for fintech, says: "The UK is an acknowledged world leader in fintech but having this programme, endorsed by HM Treasury, will help the UK to further accelerate the development of the sector."
The UK has long been a leading fintech hub but the government is looking to ensure that the sector continues to flourish post-Brexit.
While the implications of the country's exit from the EU on the UK's scene have yet to become fully clear, a recent Tech Nation report suggested that firms continue to be concerned about the fall out.
The report surveyed more than 3400 members of the technology community, finding that for companies in London Brexit is considered the third biggest challenge. The top challenge is access to talent - something which will again be affected by the UK's EU exit.