Danske Bank to provide safe house for fintech entrepreneurs

Work has already begun on Belfast HQ

An artist’s impression of what the Danske Bank work space would look like.

An artist’s impression of what the Danske Bank work space would look like.

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Danske Bank is to throw open its former safe at its headquarters in Belfast to fintech entrepreneurs as part of a new initiative that will see the ground floor of its HQ transformed into a dedicated space for Northern Ireland start ups.

The Nordic bank has a track record of backing co-working spaces across Europe but this is the very first time it has decided to convert a space within an existing bank for financial technology start ups.

Danske is teaming up with Catalyst Inc, the non profit which operates science parks in Northern Ireland, to develop the new area which will include 70 permanent and hot desks, a social coffee area and an event space within the bank’s former safe that can seat up to 50 people.

Work has already begun on creating the new Catalyst Belfast Fintech venue on Donegall Square West and David Allister, head of digital partnership and alliances at Danske, hopes that it might stop some of Northern Ireland’s up and coming from leaving for other locations.

Mr Allister said: “Currently too many local fintech entrepreneurs are moving to London or Manchester or Dublin. We want to see the sector grow in Northern Ireland and we want to put Belfast on a global map as a fintech hub. We believe we have a role to play in making that happen.

“This is very much a co-working space for the city.  The community will be run principally by Catalyst Inc, who bring extensive experience and a proven model of building a collaborative ecosystem. We see this as a natural development of our existing partnership with Catalyst Inc and believe the Fintech hub as essential for the growth of the fintech sector in Northern Ireland.”

Mervyn Watley, director of corporate real estate and facilities from Catalyst Inc said believes the Danske Bank initiative will help to create “a unique collaborative environment to inspire, incubate and scale entrepreneurship and innovation” in Northern Ireland.

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