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Partnering For A New Future: Fintech In the MENA Region A growing number of fintech startups are seeking collaborations with larger, better-established corporations.

By Thomson Reuters MENA

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As fresh business models and disruptive technology continue to drive growth in the financial technology (fintech) space, another headwind for local fintech companies has emerged: the talent gap.

An industry this innovative and mould-shattering requires a specialized set of skills, but many firms struggle to find people with the requisite technical and finance expertise. When they do, these skills often come at a high price, which may not be feasible for cash-strapped startups. Often, small fintech companies have to compete with large, well-established financial or technology corporations for talent, and candidates with these skills are quickly priced out of their league.

In addition to a lack of skills from within, some fintech businesses also lack outside support due to the small pool of available peers and mentors. This guidance could mean the difference between thriving and folding. In response to this need, there are some public- and private-sector led initiatives in the region that provide fintech startups with the opportunity to grow their companies in accelerator programs.

To address some of these challenges, a growing number of fintech startups are seeking collaborations with larger, better-established corporations. When approached strategically, this type of alliance can bring value to both partners. The financial services institution can provide the investment, mentorship and market that is necessary for the fintech startup's survival and growth. On the other hand, the fintech vendor can provide the financial institution with the tools for real and meaningful digital transformation.

The result is a range of solutions and services that widen access to financial services for households and businesses across the region, as well as deliver a range of other benefits from faster, more relevant service to greater choice and better value.

One example of this form of partnership is Thomson Reuters' relationship with FinTech Hive at Dubai International Financial Centre to bring technology, market data access and mentorships to the region's fintech startups.

"It's exciting to be a part of an ecosystem that gives us the opportunity to work alongside with organizations that are looking to solve industry challenges in new and innovative ways," said Nadim Najjar, Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa at Thomson Reuters.

Through this partnership, the startups will have access to Thomson Reuters data and tools that allows them to test their propositions before going to market, gain mentorship with industry experts, and have a unique opportunity to pitch and present their proposition to some of leading financial institutions in the region, as well as benefit from a strong brand association.

"It's exciting to think about where the companies we're going to work with could go," said Raja Al Mazrouei, Acting Executive Vice President of FinTech Hive. "This industry is only getting started, and we're taking an active role in shaping it. That's a very rare opportunity."

This article was originally published on the Thomson Reuters blog.

Related: Getting The MENA Ready For A Fintech Revolution

Thomson Reuters provides professionals with the intelligence, technology and human expertise they need to find trusted answers. We enable professionals in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, and media markets to make the decisions that matter most, all powered by the world's most trusted news organization.

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