Universidad del Pacífico Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EMPRENDE UP) carried out the first Lima Fintech Forum held in our country, an initiative that caught the attention of the sector and brought together national and international experts on the subject, as well as other stakeholders involved such as representatives of the Peruvian banking sector and regulatory agencies. For those who are not familiar with the topic, Fintech is the result of the combination of the words "finance" and "technology", and is currently one of the fields that is getting more attention within the broad universe of technological advances worldwide.
The concept of Fintech manages to link the banking sector, one of the most traditional in the market, and the technological, precisely the most avant-garde and changing of the business world. The point is that the speed at which technology is advancing makes every company, regardless of their line of business, adapt to changes that only a few years ago seemed impossible, like making banking transactions using only a Smartphone and with all the security that such an operation requires.
This was explained by Javier Salinas, director of UP Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, during his welcome words to the event. "The Fintech is a great opportunity for the generational renewal to take advantage in order to achieve financial inclusion and start formalization." Today we know that new businesses that are not born formal, do not have access to capital, and that the State is promoting innovative ways of formalization. "Fintechs open up this great opportunity," he said.
Vice President of Consumer Products for Visa Latin America, Vicente Echeveste, one of the first speakers at the Forum, explained that the business environment is changing almost as fast as technology, because it is the only path that can follow. Even the way of doing business is changing. "For example, some time ago Visa accumulated a lot of data but did not share it. When we understood that by sharing our information with banks and other organizations we could provide better services, we entered a stage of greater possibilities, he commented.
Another speaker that stood out during the first day of the event, which lasted two days, was the founder and CEO of Above & Beyond, Jorge Ruiz, who said that fintechs represent a digital transformation of banking, and asked the public to "imagine a bank where we have to change the structure, where payments and collections are done without intermediaries, where loans are made without deposits, and where the money supply is global.” Among the benefits of this great change, he mentioned, for example, that the operational cost of traditional banking is, on a world average, about 70 cents per transaction. "A few months ago I asked the same question to a Fintech: the cost is 1 cent," he said.
The closing of the first day of the Lima Fintech Forum had a first class panel composed of three great entrepreneurs who spoke about the fintech ecosystem in Peru. The panel was composed of María Laura Cuya, Ljubica Vonanovic and Amparo Nalvarte, and moderation was in charge of Gonzalo Villarán, Director General of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Business Services at Produce.
The welcome words on the second day of the event were in charge of Pedro Grados, President of Cofide. The businessman said that one of the biggest challenges in our country is to make informal workers find the highest productivity in formality so that they feel encouraged to change. One of the presentations that attracted the attention of the audience the most was that of Sergio Furio, founder and CEO of Creditas, who explained the Brazilian case, where they have developed a digital loan platform.
Another outstanding participation during the second day of the Lima Fintech Forum was that of Carolina Trivelli, former minister of Development and Social Inclusion and current member of the IEP. The former official acknowledged that while there are responsibilities that clearly correspond to the public sector, "if we want to create a fintech and there is no access to the internet for everyone, it will not be inclusive, but will rather widen the gap”, with regard to the lack of adequate infrastructure and little support for innovation and science in our country.
The event was closed by UP President, Elsa del Castillo, who highlighted the role of this university as a generator of ventures since its creation, and assured that this first Lima Fintech Forum, whose call exceeded all previous expectations, will be the first of many similar events. ---