Fintech industry leaders from all over the world will gather at the Sam Lord’s Castle Wyndham Grand Barbados from January 24–26, 2024, for the second edition of Fintech Islands Experience (FiX). FiX24 is gearing up to be bigger and better than the inaugural conference held in 2022, with over 700 fintech professionals, start-up founders, financial regulators, policymakers, and more who are set to participate in this landmark gathering.
According to a 2022 report from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), IDB Invest, and Finnovista on Fintech in Latin America and the Caribbean, the industry experienced a growth of 112 percent between 2018 and 2021. This growth was fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which created a demand for financial services not provided by the traditional financial sector. The report also revealed that Latin America and the Caribbean host almost a quarter of all fintech platforms.
Despite this growth, many people in the Caribbean region still rely heavily on cash-based systems due to limited access to banking services. Around 66 percent of the population has either limited or no access at all to banking services. Fintech, however, has democratized financial services worldwide, making them accessible to a broader range of people, including those in underserved or remote areas. This shift to fintech will play a vital role in driving economic growth and development in the countries of the region.
Levelling the playing field and bringing greater financial education to the region are among some of the motivators for FiX. According to the co-founder and CEO of Fintech Islands, Allison Hunte, FiX is working toward helping individuals and businesses in the Caribbean better understand and leverage fintech. The conference aims to promote financial inclusion, enabling more people to access financial services and businesses to expand their operations. This will ultimately lead to greater transparency in financial transactions and significant growth and development in the region.
Hunte explains, “Access to financial services has been expanded through mobile banking, digital payment systems, and microfinance solutions. These have empowered individuals, including the grandmother who previously kept her money under the mattress and small businesses previously excluded from the formal financial sector. Ultimately, this conference is not just about those people that will be in the room. It’s about how the decisions that the people in the room may affect the communities that we are trying to assist.”
The official speaker line-up includes more than 130 founders, investors, executives, policymakers, and other thought leaders in the industry. Topics to be covered during the conference include the future of commerce, modernizing central banking, open finance, payments innovation, and wealth building. Additionally, FiX offers business and social networking opportunities, which can lead to the growth and development of new businesses and partnerships. The conference also features the FiX 2024 Startup Pitch, a platform through which ten early-stage fintech start-ups from the Caribbean can pitch their ideas on the main stage in front of hundreds of global fintech leaders and a panel of celebrity investors. The winner will take home a US$10,000 top prize. The start-ups are based in Jamaica, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Trinidad, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic and are being mentored to prepare for their pitches. “These opportunities and events distinguish FiX from other fintech conferences worldwide,” says Hunte.
To make the event accessible to more people, the FiX24 team recently launched a social media campaign, giving away 50 passes to the three-day conference. Students and entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate in the campaign for a chance to learn more about the latest trends and innovations in the field.