Last Thursday the Governor’s Office of Economic Development offered an incentive to Earnest for its 500 person expansion into Utah.
EDCUtah was proud to support this expansion, and we are even more proud to trace the origins of it back to our Global Strategies and Outreach initiative. Earnest is one of several Fintech companies to announce an expansion in Utah over the last several years, and there are no signs technology enabled financial services firms will slow their growth in our state. Of course, we are a natural fit for companies like Earnest,SoFi, and Varo Moneygiven our deep legacy in financial services and our longstanding competencies in tech.
I get excited about Fintech projects because the companies behind them are solving great problems and points of friction in our economy. Fintech companies unleash innovation and entrepreneurship in other sectors. Where staid institutions used to control the capital needed for an entrepreneur to start or grow a business, now a great idea (and some bad ones!) can crowdfund. Where low volume and small businesses used to have a hard time accepting credit cards, they now can take all sorts of payments through the swipe of a card on a device attached to a cell phone. It’s so cool!
Our stakeholders are likely watching this trend closely, and it’s one we intend to capitalize on through additional proactive outreach to fin-tech companies. Given the pace of innovation, a change in the federal administration, the creation of the Center for Innovation in Banking and Financial Services at the University of Utah, and the evolving nature of funding for these companies (nearly $12 Bil in 2015), Utah will be well poised to continue our reign as the Wall Street of the West.