A newly released FinTech report* has revealed one of the UK’s most flourishing InsurTech hubs outside London.

The Norfolk FinTech Report 2024 – commissioned by Tech East and independently produced by Whitecap Consulting – forecasts Norfolk’s FinTech sector could be worth £100M by 2027, with the number of FinTech firms doubling within the next three years and forecast to create more than 600 new roles in the region.

The new study comes at a time when the region is exhibiting enhanced performance in terms of innovation and economic growth. Between 2010 and 2021, Norwich – the largest city in Norfolk – recorded the highest growth in real output per hour of all UK cities (2.3%) and also ranked 11th in the list of cities in the UK for the number of ‘new economy’ firms per 10,000 people in the workforce (28.8)**.

The report also highlights that Norwich boasts the most concentrated insurance workforce after London – a sector employing over 7,500 people – and houses a financial services industry that generates over £1bn, which is more than 20% of the city’s GVA and is home to the highest proportion of InsurTech firms of any English region, after London.

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Norfolk is currently home to 24 FinTech firms who collectively have raised a total of £49m in investment, and are part of a wider East of England cluster estimated at over 80 FinTech firms. The Norfolk FinTech ecosystem also includes organisations across financial services firms and technology providers to the financial sector, an extensive support ecosystem of specialist businesses across professional and business services, funding, education and the public sector, which contribute to the regional FinTech economy and ensure FinTechs have expertise on their doorstep. The region’s financial, professional and business services sector is represented by FIG (Financial Industry Group), which has been actively engaged in the project to develop the report.

Despite the relatively small geographic size of Norfolk in comparison to some of its bigger counterparts, the FinTech sector in the region indicates that it is performing higher than average on other key notable points, such as sustainability, and diversity.

Norfolk was highlighted as having a high proportion of female FinTech founders (17%), which although in line with the national average of 16%, is higher than any other FinTech region in England, outside London.

The report also highlights a new wider analysis of the Norfolk economy by mnAi, which identifies 342 SMEs with relevance to FinTech, with net assets of just over £250m. 51% of this sector is estimated to be operating with ultra-low emissions, compared to the UK average of 38%.

Finally, the report sheds light on an increasing amount of support available to the FinTech sector in the region, referencing the inaugural Norwich FinTech Hackathon held in March 2024, hosted by Aviva and City College Norwich, and the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) FinTech Lab and post-graduate FinTech masters degree currently in development.

Ben Luckett, Managing Director, Venture Capital at Aviva, says this anticipated growth underscores the immense potential inherent in Norwich’s FinTech ecosystem: “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.”

Lisa Perkins, Chair of Tech East, added: “The findings of the report are very positive.  Despite challenges with access to funding and relatively small financial investment, the Norfolk FinTech ecosystem is flourishing and this new report highlights some immense 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.”

Julian Wells, Director and FinTech Lead at Whitecap Consulting, said: “Throughout this project we have experienced the collective desire of a wide range of stakeholders across the region to work together to develop the FinTech sector. Norfolk is the 10th region of the UK that Whitecap has analysed in this way over recent years, and what we have found in this region is an emerging and distinctive FinTech ecosystem.

He added: “Whilst the region is smaller than others we have reviewed, the strength in InsurTech comes through very strongly in our findings, and for the first time in any of our reports this is found to be the most prominent FinTech sub-sector. It is also 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.”

*the Norfolk FinTech Report 2024: Tech East, Norfolk County Council, Aviva, Connected Innovation, FIG (Financial Industry Group), mnAi

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