Frankfurt Main Finance asked Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Minister of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing, three questions on the subject of FinTechs. During the interview, we learned, among other things, about the FinTech highlights awaiting us in 2019.
FinTech – Why is this topic important to you personally? And why is it important for the region?
The Financial Centre Frankfurt is not just an economic factor for the Rhine-Main region. As the fourth largest economy in the world, Germany needs a corresponding banking centre. For the same reason, Frankfurt needs innovative FinTechs – short for financial technology companies. Tomorrow’s financial industry will be digital; FinTechs are becoming established on the market, compete with traditional service providers and create completely new fields of business. For Frankfurt to remain competitive in the race for innovation, we need to offer highly qualified specialists an attractive working environment and future-oriented employment opportunities. And I’m convinced that the innovative power of FinTechs will also benefit other industries.
Which FinTech highlights do you expect us to see in 2019?
One of our goals is to position Frankfurt as a well-established FinTech location. In the upcoming months, several events will contribute to this: the Global Insurtech Roadshow (GIR 2019) with its partner country Israel in March, the ExecFintech in April, now returning to Frankfurt after having taken place in Berlin for the past two years, and the Growth Con in May. The artificial intelligence (AI) hub will continue to become established and launch its first financial programmes. Companies will set up headquarters, rounds of financing will take place. I’m certain there will be many reasons to report on Frankfurt’s success as a top FinTech location.
It is planned for the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region to be developed into the leading FinTech hub in continental Europe and an internationally recognised technology region within five years. What is still needed to create THE PERFECT start-up climate so that the master plan can succeed?
There will not be THE perfect start-up climate for everyone – neither here nor in Silicon Valley. The requirements are simply too diverse for that. We consequently need to start by building on our own strengths, which are FinTechs, cybersecurity and AI. Our master plan for the Frankfurt-Rhine-Main start-up region will lead the way. The Industry, academia and politics want to join forces to turn good ideas into marketable and successful products. Central measures have already been implemented or initiated. The TechObserver platform is online, the TechQuartier FinTech Accelerator programme is up and running. However, we still have a lot of work to do. We will continue to put great effort into the development of the region, but I’m still very happy about every contribution made by others.