Banking group Lloyds announces new incubator and FinTech Scotland tie-up

Bank of Scotland owner Lloyds Banking Group has unveiled the next stage of its plan to boost Scotland’s fintech workforce in what it says is the fastest-growing digital economy outside London.

The group said the new incubator programme will unite start-ups and scale-ups to work on digital services and sustainability. Picture: Ian Rutherford.

The lender has agreed a new tie-up with FinTech Scotland in the search for the nation’s most exciting start-ups and young businesses.

The move is part of the next stage in the development of its new tech hub in Edinburgh, with the group having last year announced a recruitment drive to create a new 500-strong team tasked with helping transform the digital experience for Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Scottish Widows customers.

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The new incubator programme, Launch – based out of the Edinburgh hub – will unite start-ups and scale-ups to tackle the issues of digital services and sustainability, with plans for its first industry showcase next year.

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In addition to the tech hub’s team of software engineers and other digital roles, which is more than 50 per cent complete, the first specialist mobile quality engineering team was created, adding 16 roles to the tech-based talent pool in Scotland.

The Edinburgh hub was set up to overhaul how the bank operates behind the scenes, creating new services and tools for customers, as well as enhancing Scotland’s thriving tech community.

Philip Grant, chair of Lloyds’ Scottish executive committee, said: “We’re putting lots of energy into shaping the financial services of the future to meet customers’ changing needs, and having cutting-edge fintech talent in action behind the scenes is key to keeping customers connected to their finances.”

He flagged the recent launch of a pilot Scottish Widows mobile app to help reinvent saving for workplace pensions customers.

Nicola Anderson, acting chief executive of FinTech Scotland, said: “Creating opportunities for collaboration across Scotland’s competitive tech scene will drive innovation as start-ups work together with established financial firms on how to trailblaze the industry’s future in partnership.

Commitment

“The Launch innovation labs highlight Lloyds’ commitment to developing talent in fintech. It provides a boost in confidence for the industry and shows the power of collaboration for mutual benefit – we’re looking forward to seeing the results in next year's industry showcase.”

The lender also highlighted its active role in the wider technology scene in Scotland, hosting more than 5,000 delegates at events and training sessions at its city-centre hub last year, for example.

As well as working in partnership with FinTech Scotland and SQA-accredited digital skills academy CodeClan, the bank has also invested in providing training for colleagues who want to diversify into careers in technology.

It launched its own coding academy in 2018, which has now expanded from Edinburgh across the UK, as well as the WomenConnecTech network, to help provide opportunities and support to women looking to build careers in computer science.

“Graduates of the coding academy are now established software engineers working within the digital labs,” according to the banking group, which also pointed out that it has now started working with 12 businesses as part of the Launch Innovation Lab project.

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