Bootcamp aims to make the country a leader in fintech

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University will host a financial technology boot camp Saturday for local high school and college students to learn about the industry and future career paths.

“A key aspect of making Western Mass. in a fintech hub is to tap into the local community and create an ecosystem and hub for innovation to foster collaboration and strengthen connections across sectors to pool ideas, resources and talent,” said University President Robert E. Johnson.

This is the third training camp that Mass. The Fintech Hub and the University organize. About 75 students are expected to attend as leaders have opened the program to neighboring communities and younger students.

Mass. The Fintech Hub is a public-private partnership of fintech leaders, financial experts, academics, public sector leaders and venture capitalists who aim to enable fintech startups to succeed.

“This year there was a lot more marketing to high school students and neighborhood communities because they’re going to be the hardest hit by technology,” said Charles Mutigue, a professor of business analytics and information management at the university and representative of the Mass Fintech Hub.

Because younger students use technology at a higher rate, they may have viable innovative ideas, Mutigwe said.

“We need to be able to provide entrepreneurial skills and a mindset to prepare students for the professions of the future,” Johnson said. “Universities have financial and technological needs and requirements. What the boot camp does is create an ecosystem that will help the entire industry and community thrive.”

The fintech hub features public and private partnerships in finance, technology, along with academic, policy leaders to bring people together to empower startups in the Pioneer Valley.

As state leaders express concern about workforce gaps and creating pathways to fill available occupations as baby boomers retire, there is a growing need to expose students to the many opportunities in financial technology. “There is a paradigm shift,” Mutigwe said. “This initiative is timely to prepare students to look ahead. The youngest generation will see different types of interaction. We need to rethink the future and engage with technology in a different way.”

The boot camp aims to prepare students for the future, in college and the business world. “In an almost entirely digital world, there is a need for people to create new platforms where commerce takes place,” Mutigwe said.

“The fintech career paths that will be explored will not only be IT (information technology) and coding, but the boot camp will also include information on marketing, human resources and talent pool management, accounting,” Mutigwe said. “Fintech also connects to the current world of marketing because it is moving to digital platforms like Instagram and Twitter.”

Over the next year, a key goal for the partners is to create a fintech incubator focused on startup resources, local job creation, training and updated curriculum offerings, in addition to providing training to those currently working.

According to Mutigwe, experts say Western Mass is a good location for a fintech hub because of the state’s infrastructure, its academic institutions, good workforce base and financial institutions.

“We are poised to become a leader in the field, and Western New England University and partners are involved in the evolution of fintech in all aspects,” Mutigue said.

In addition to Western New England University, Mass Fintech Hub partners include Mass Mutual, Roger L. Putnam Academy and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The boot camp will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rivers Memorial Hall on the university campus, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield.

For more information on Mass.’s Bootcamp Series. Fintech Hub visit https://massfintechhub.com/discover/events/fintech-summer-bootcamp.

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