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Norfolk’s fintech sector projected to worth over £100M by 2027

Norfolk’s fintech sector is rapidly growing, with a strong insurtech presence and £49 million in investments, contributing significantly to the local economy and setting the stage for future innovation and diversity.

  • Editorial Team
  • May 13, 2024
  • 4 minutes

While London still holds the title of the UK’s biggest fintech hub, it’s clear that the growth of the sector beyond the capital can’t be overlooked. The latest insight into Norfolk’s financial technology landscape, predicts that Norfolk’s fintech sector could be worth £100 million by 2027, with the number of fintech enterprises doubling within the next three years, potentially ushering in over 600 fresh job opportunities across the region.

The study, commissioned by Tech East and produced by Whitecap Consulting, came after a time of increased innovation and economic expansion in the region. From 2010 to 2021, Norwich, Norfolk’s largest city, achieved the highest increase in real output per hour among all UK cities (2.3%). Moreover, it secured the 11th position nationwide for the density of ‘new economy’ firms per 10,000 individuals in the workforce.

Norfolk is currently home to 24 fintech firms which have collectively raised a total of £49 million in investment, and are part of a wider East of England cluster estimated at over 80 fintech firms.

Norfolk’s flourishing insurtech hub

The report also shed light on the rising insurtech sector in Norfolk, where the insurance industry employs over 7,500 individuals, positioning the region as a significant hub outside London. Notably, Norfolk’s financial services sector yields over £1 billion, constituting over 20% of the city’s gross value added (GVA). Moreover, Norfolk boasts the second-highest concentration of insurtech firms in England, trailing only London.

Ben Luckett, Aviva’s Managing Director of Venture Capital, commented: “With a robust support ecosystem and close proximity to primary investor hubs such as London and Cambridge, it’s clear that Norwich offers a fantastic environment for burgeoning insurtech ventures. Couple this with a vibrant academic community and access to great early-stage career support including apprenticeship schemes in areas such as software development and data analysis, and you have a growing pipeline of skilled professionals and innovative thinkers ready and waiting to help Norwich join the likes of established clusters like Cambridge.”

The Norfolk fintech scene is a rich ecosystem that includes financial services companies, technology providers for finance, and a supportive network of specialist businesses spanning professional services, funding, education, and the public sector. These diverse players all contribute to Norfolk’s growing economy, providing essential expertise and resources for local fintech startups. Leading this charge is the Financial Industry Group (FIG), representing the region’s financial, professional, and business services sector, actively involved in shaping the landscape and development, as highlighted in the recent report.

Sustainability and diversity

Despite Norfolk’s relatively modest size, its fintech sector demonstrates remarkable performance on several fronts, including sustainability and diversity. Notably, Norfolk boasts a higher-than-average proportion of female fintech founders at 17%, surpassing all other English regions outside London.

Additionally, a broader analysis of Norfolk’s economy by mnAi identifies 342 SMEs relevant to fintech, with combined net assets exceeding £250 million. Over half of these enterprises operate with ultra-low emissions, surpassing the UK average.

Lisa Perkins, Chair of Tech East, expressed her optimism about Norfolk’s fintech potential: “The region is already a leading insurtech hub, also distinguishing itself in sustainability and diversity within the fintech realm and there has been a lot of appetite and support to ensure this growth continues. However, to truly unlock this potential and pave the way for sustained growth and innovation in the region, we must build new relationships and partnerships that expand the investment options for innovative new businesses, while also looking to foster a collaborative ecosystem that supports both established players and emerging startups alike.”

Supporting young and local talent

The report also underscores the growing support infrastructure for Norfolk’s fintech sector, citing initiatives like the inaugural Norwich FinTech Hackathon and the University of East Anglia’s ‘FinTech Lab’ and post-graduate fintech masters degree.F

Julian Wells, Director and Fintech Lead at Whitecap Consulting, highlighted the collaborative spirit among Norfolk stakeholders to nurture the fintech ecosystem. “It is the first time that payments have not been the leading sub-sector in a region. The proportion of female fintech founders is the highest we have observed to date, giving Norfolk a crown that every region would crave. There is strong potential for economic growth through the fintech sector in the region, and collaboration on a regional and national level can help drive this.”