The second Alternative Finance Forum was held with great success in Thessaloniki, at the KEDEA (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) conference hall with more than 400 participants from all over Europe (simultaneously live and online / hybrid event). The conference was held on October 13th 2021 and was organized by the Business and Cultural Development Centre (KEPA) under the auspices of the European Investment Bank Group (EIB).
The conference hosted more than 35 speakers from the fintech and social capital sectors, who shared their ideas and innovative solutions they apply, leveraging new technologies and design principles to develop sustainable financial services through consumer/user experience-based design and innovative business models.
The conference was opened by the Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB Institute), Mr Francisco de Paula Coelho, who presented how the EIB Group, the bank whose main concern is EU development, supports technological innovations for sustainable social and economic growth, stressing that technology-based alternative financing solutions play an important role to this end.
Referring to the key message of the conference: “Money. Technology. Purpose.” in his opening speech, Mr. Yannis Tsakiris, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments, underlined the catalytic role of “Technology” in alternative financing, and confirmed the commitment of the Greek government to further support alternative forms of financial services in the country, with the recent example of the adoption of the Microcredit Law and the next step being the development of instruments – such as the guarantee fund and the equity fund – for Microfinance Institutions.
The importance of applying technology to finance was further reinforced by Mr. Uli Grabenwater, Deputy Director at the European Investment Fund, who drew the audience’s attention to the need to link technological applications to socially desirable goals and outcomes.
The discussions then took place in two different rooms where the two main subjects of the conference, “Financial Innovation” and “Social Capital”, were further developed.
Under the section of Financial Innovations, a number of new solutions and business models related to Data and Identity, new ways of accessing capital for small businesses, payments and transactions and various non-lending solutions of new technologies supporting financial service providers and consumers were put on the agenda.
The Social Capital section highlighted new developments in the field of social finance, including impact investing, financial tools for social entrepreneurship, technological innovations for microfinance institutions, such as the use of blockchain technology, and collaborative finance solutions.