04/15/2016 11:40 EDT | Updated 04/16/2017 05:12 EDT

Building A Strong Fintech Ecosystem In Canada

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Since June 2015, over 43,000 positions have been created by small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) adding more job opportunities and growth to the Canadian market, according to TD Economics. SMB employment has increased over the years largely due to the rise of the fintech space creating more room to grow in the market. A fresh wave of technological innovation is changing the game, creating new competitors and partnerships that are providing consumers with more opportunities to fund their businesses.

The Canadian Fintech Summit in Toronto, hosted by BDC Capital has triggered enlightening discussions around key themes: innovation and collaboration. Senior executives from the top fintech firms in Canada were brought together to discuss new business opportunities and the importance of finding common ground between traditional financial institutions and alternative lenders.

By working together, fintech companies are able to enhance products and services to better serve their customers. A prime example of this is our partnership with CIBC. We are now able to reach an even wider range of customers and offer these SMBs access to financing quicker and more efficiently.

As referenced by Adam Nanjee, head of fintech, MaRS:

Fintech companies are emerging across Canada providing consumers with alternative financial service products that better suit their needs.
At Thinking Capital, we strongly believe that innovation is a key ingredient to helping small businesses obtain the capital they need to cover unanticipated expenses and short term projects. As a leader in the fintech space, we are able to leverage our smart technology and software algorithms to accelerate approval times; providing customers across Canada with the financing they need to react quickly in today's fast paced business environment. Dinaro Ly, director of the fintech cluster at MaRS sums it up well:
We should be driven and motivated to bring the next generation of financial services to consumers who currently rely on legacy technologies that could be better, more secure and more efficient.

The fintech space continues to gain momentum in Canada making headway in the small business community. However, there is a lot more we can do to promote awareness around the usage of fintech products. Ernst & Young surveyed more than 10,000 digitally active people around the world, including more than 2,000 in Canada to better understand the overall usage of fintech products. Survey shows that in Canada, 8.2 per cent of consumers have used at least two fintech products within the last six months in comparison to 15.5 per cent globally (EY's FinTech Adoption Index).

This begs the next question -- how do we increase awareness of fintech products and services? We are quickly transitioning to the digital world. Consumers prefer to manage their expenses online and rely on platforms like Shopify to run their online stores. A key role for fintech players moving forward will be to educate their customers on the new products and services being offered and tailoring financial products and services to their specific business needs. EY predicts that fintech participation among Canadian consumers will triple within the next year as there will be more focus on improving the user experience and ensuring the transaction process is quick and efficient.

Fintech has been a huge driving force for the small business community in Canada. We see bigger and better things on the rise for small businesses as they now have more options to get the funding they need to grow in a short period of time.

Click here to learn more about the small business landscape in Canada.

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