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The Crucial Role of Black Fintech Innovators and Leadership

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In recent years, the fintech industry has witnessed remarkable growth and transformation, redefining how financial services are accessed and utilized. Creating a more diverse space in this sector is crucial — not just how this technology is developed, but how a diverse community accesses it.

In this post, we’ll examine why the fintech industry is an attractive space for BIPOC innovators and how Fintech in Action is fueling its growth.

A Short History of Fintech in Action

Let’s go back in time a bit. In 2020, George Floyd’s murder led to a significant public outcry over police brutality and how people are marginalized in the United States. Companies were eager to do more and show their support for their employees and communities. The executives behind Apex Fintech Solutions and its parent company, PEAK6, also felt the call to action. 

The leadership at PEAK6 recognized that there’s not a lack of talent in the Black community but a lack of opportunity. What resulted was the creation of Fintech in Action — a coalition of businesses dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives changing how students and professionals can access opportunities in fintech.

The coalition started with 18 financial firms, community stakeholders, and fintech organizations and a $1.7 million investment from PEAK6 Investments. Their mission is to address the financial services and technology pipeline issues directly.

Representation Matters

The underrepresentation of diverse professionals in the fintech industry has perpetuated financial disparities and limited opportunities for advancement. A recent study by Built In states that 80% of job seekers say diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices are essential to their job search. With this increasing recognition of the value of diverse perspectives, there’s been a push for inclusive hiring practices.

Smiling African American woman in glasses calculating bills, using smartphone and calculator

By actively promoting diversity, companies can tap into a wealth of talent and expertise that’s often been overlooked. Black fintech workers offer unique insights, experiences, and cultural understanding that are invaluable in developing financial products and services catering to diverse users. Fintech in Action is leading this call, and has placed over 100 interns in just three short years.

Shaping the Future

Black university man assisting his female colleague with her lecture in the campus.

By occupying positions of influence, Black innovators can drive meaningful change, challenge biases, and address systemic barriers that hinder financial inclusion. Racially and ethnically diverse leaders bring a fresh perspective to decision-making processes, which can lead to more equitable outcomes and innovative solutions that better serve underserved communities.

Additionally, racially and ethnically diverse financial leaders are important for more than just what they do for diversity and inclusion. Black fintech professionals are key in closing the wealth gap and supporting economic justice by promoting inclusive financial solutions like affordable lending options, personalized wealth management tools, and easy access to financial education.

Recognizing that no one organization can do it alone, Fintech in Action has made strategic partnerships and collaborations. In spring 2023, a collaboration with Braven’s Capstone Challenge allowed 330 Spelman College students to participate in a program that simulates the BIPOC workforce and exposes students to diverse workplaces. The program Fellows were tasked with solving a real-life challenge. Sixteen students walked away with the final prize of a $250 investment account with Stackwell.

Further, in-office exposure activities include events with 14 students from Howard University spending the day in the PEAK6 office in the Chicago Board of Trade Building. An upcoming 2023 event with Wall Street Bound will include 20 students visiting the PEAK6 office in New York City.

Moving Forward

In the end, it’s impossible to emphasize enough about how important it is that there are Black innovators and leaders in fintech. Their presence, expertise, and dedication to being inclusive add a lot of value to the industry by fostering innovation, bringing about positive change, and making sure the opinions of underrepresented groups are heard. As we all continue to shape the future of finance, it is important to support and empower Black professionals and organizations like Fintech in Action to ensure that their efforts are recognized, celebrated, and used to help everyone.

Look at current opportunities in fintech through the Fintech in Action job board.

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