by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Local fintech company Seopa Ltd, parent company of financial comparison platform CompareNI.com, has announced the return of its highly sought-after scholarship programme for higher education students, an initiative that has been specifically designed to help foster greater diversity in the fintech sector here in Northern Ireland.


Data from a wide range of research firms and government agencies, including the Department for Education, suggests the talent shortage is the single biggest concern for senior leaders in the financial services industry. PwC global fintech report found 42% of both financial services (FS) and Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) organisations are struggling to fill roles**.

The aim of the scholarship is to encourage students from outside the world of fintech to explore what it could potentially offer them as a career and enter a short but insightful blog post on what the next generation see as the future of fintech. The industry is facing a very serious talent shortage which is a growing concern across the sector. This scholarship hopes to attract a diverse range of students from across the academic syllabus, who may never before have considered this path as a viable option.

Northern Ireland has been hailed as a key epicentre for growth in the fintech sector, employing 39,000 people and leading the way across over half a dozen key fintech disciplines such as trading and payments technologies, analytics and cybersecurity, Blockchain and AI.

Belfast is ranked as the world’s top destination for financial technology investment projects*, with major global players attracted to its talented workforce, economical office space and supportive business environment – ranking in the top three fintech locations of the future, after London and Singapore.

Seopa’s approach to fostering greater diversity in its sector has been hailed by politicians, academics and business leaders across the UK. Alex Lee, Chairman of FintechNI, the industry association representing the Fintech sector in Northern Ireland, had this to say about Seopa’s Fintech Scholarship programme: “We are delighted to endorse this important initiative from one of our member firms Seopa. Northern Ireland is now recognised as a leading global fintech hub, but maintaining that position into the future relies on the continued supply of quality talent into the sector. We hope this scholarship serves to attract new graduates to the exciting world of digital innovation in the financial services industry, and to make our talent pool more diverse and inclusive in the process.”

Greg Wilson, the fintech entrepreneur behind comparison site CompareNI.com, had this to say about the company’s new Fintech Scholarship: “Talented graduates are the lifeblood of the fintech sector and in our experience, teams that are more diverse tend to perform better and create more sustainable growth for the business.

“The financial sector is being reinvented and we need aspiring students to think outside the box and drive innovation forward. The list of contributions made to fintech by those with non-traditional backgrounds is extensive and the main driver behind the disruptive nature of fintech which has been so pivotal in embracing change.

“We want this scholarship to be a trigger that opens minds and shows talented young students where they could be in 5 years’ time.”

CompareNI.com’s parent company, Seopa, renowned for its pioneering comparison technology, was founded by the Northern Irish entrepreneur, Greg Wilson, in 2003 and has now grown to more than 50 team members spread across two European offices.

The company has been recognised with six Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards, and has been awarded a Deloitte Best Managed Company Award each year for the past three years – topped by the Gold Standard Deloitte Award for Best Managed Company in 2020 – making it four consecutive wins.

CompareNI.com has grown to become Northern Ireland’s number one price comparison platform, helping over 600,000 users – more than half of all drivers on the road in Northern Ireland – and is recommended by 97% of reviewers on Reviews.co.uk.

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