On Thursday 4th June, Felicia participated in the Thrive webinar series: part 4 - Innovation, with Angel Academe moderated by the two co-founders Sarah Turner and Simon Hopkins.
It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss automation in times of crisis, as periods of economic disruption usually stimulate innovation.
Felicia was accompanied on a panel with Ramona Liberoff who is an angel investor, advisor and NED, Emma Maslen an enterprise sales leader, angel investor and advisor and Diane Morgan a board member, advisor and education business builder.
As the webinar progressed, the panelists were able to present five thoughts on the current climate of innovation and how this will transpire as a result of Covid-19:
Change and disruption was well underway pre lockdown, but pace has increased rapidly as a result. Below are Felicia’s five thoughts:
- Rapid adaptation- Startups are uniquely positioned to benefit from change and many have maximised the opportunity or pivoted to provide value to clients.
- Fully digital: total digital user journeys have become critical in the current crisis. What has been evident is how the Wealth sector lacks innovation for end customers, and banks lack SMEs solutions.
- Rapid change accelerating due to COVID: financial services change continues to be driven by regulation, including Open Banking and Open Data and in the wealth space, investment pathway requirements.
- Collaboration: key to initiatives to drive adoption; this includes collaboration between tech companies within the startup ecosystem as well as more mature players in the wealth sector.
- Increasing investment in women led businesses: women represent a lower proportion of funding raised particularly from the venture capital sector. The proportion of pounds invested into female-founded businesses is declining: 15% in 2015 and 2016 to just 9% in 2019. Technology and IP businesses receive the most support from the ecosystem including funding, with only 15% of Fintech firms having female founders. Women overall are critical to recovery, however are hardest hit due to traditional caretaking roles and disparities in the workplace – we need to drive new solutions at a community and societal level.
Expanding on the last point, Felicia explained that for female entrepreneurs to emerge stronger they will need to focus on the following:
- Greater involvement in leadership and decision-making at a societal level
- Mental and physical wellbeing- it is critical to take care of your health and fitness as well as getting sufficient sleep, and getting all the support you can to enable this will help you focus further on the important things.
- Determination- have Grit! Believe strongly in fixating on the end goal and pushing forward through all difficulties, so finding a way of seeing each situation as a mountain to climb and conquer, developing an attitude of strength and professionally delivering develops your credibility.
To conclude, it is safe to say that although the UK and the world was already going through a wave of change regarding the startup and technology sector, Covid-19 has spurred on this technological revolution.
About Akoni: Akoni is an award-winning UK cash platform, which provides a marketplace to SMEs and charities, as well as to individuals through our white label distribution partners including IFAs, wealth platforms, accountants and SME hubs. Akoni uses innovative technology to personalise cash planning solutions for clients, and also provides a full API solution to banks and insurance clients.