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NEW OHIO ACCELERATOR OFFERS $100,000 GRANTS TO UK SMART FINTECHS

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NEW OHIO ACCELERATOR OFFERS $100,000 GRANTS TO UK SMART FINTECHS

Fintech71 to help the world’s most promising finance start-ups/scale-ups 

Applications invited by July 17 on www.fintech71.com

Valentina Isakina

Valentina Isakina

British entrepreneurs are being offered the chance to develop financial services ideas in one of the top financial regions in the US, with a $100,000 (£77,000) equity-based grant and a package of support for growing businesses.

The initiative aims to bring up to twelve of the most promising emerging financial companies in the world to Ohio and help them boost their growth beyond the start-up stage. Equity-based grants of $100,000 per firm plus coaching, office space, visa support and a strong business network are all being provided through the accelerator Fintech71.

Valentina Isakina, Managing Director for Financial Services and Select HQ Operations at JobsOhio, said: “Ohio looks ahead to the future by investing in technologies of the next generation. Our financial services sector is one of the strongest in the world, and it is always actively seeking innovative ideas and partnerships. Here people are more approachable and doing business is easier, so these innovative companies will have a better chance to blossom into the financial stars of tomorrow. JobsOhio is happy to support this innovative industry effort.

“Getting beyond the start-up phase is always difficult even when entrepreneurs have a great idea and have managed to get their business going, so the financial services industry wants to give them a helping hand by creating Fintech71. By bringing them here to enjoy Ohio’s support and hospitality, they will make contacts that will last a lifetime and benefit everyone.”

Fintech71 is aimed at start-up and scale-up businesses from all over the world which have matured enough to present a well-thought-out concept to test with a corporate partner or a market-ready business model. The application deadline is July 17 via www.fintech71.com.
The accelerator has a not-for-profit model and will negotiate a customised, entrepreneur-friendly equity-based participation in exchange for a grant of US $100,000 and access to the accelerator program for each of the selected companies. The finalists will be invited to the state capital Columbus to receive coaching from leading experts of the industry from mid-September to mid-November, in order to further develop their business ideas.

Additionally, the selected start-ups will get the opportunity to build relationships with the sponsor businesses, which are well established in Ohio and throughout the USA, and to network with mentors, partners, and customers. The selected start-ups will have access to free office space in the city centre of Columbus, with foreign businesses will be supported with their visa application.

Some 270.000 people, nearly the size of NYC’s workforce, work in the financial industry in Ohio, one of the largest in the USA. Ohio is also an innovative and successful hub for a large number of other industries, including automotive, aerospace, mechanical engineering, and chemicals. The state is among the top five US states for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 headquarters.

Fintech71, named as a nod to the cross-state highway I-71 connecting Ohio via its three largest cities, is backed by leading enterprises, banks and insurers from Ohio, like KeyBank, Huntington Bank, Grange Insurance, Progressive Insurance and Kroger, the largest food chain in the USA. JPMChase is also supporting the program, leveraging its large technology presence in Ohio. JobsOhio, the innovative non-profit economic development corporation, is supporting Fintech71’s operations along with its industry expertise, state and national contacts.

“Fintech71 and Ohio are ready to compete on a global scale given the alignment of the state, the private sector and its entrepreneurial ecosystem”, added Matt Armstead, the executive director for the accelerator.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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