Bootcamp aims to make state a financial technology leader

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University will be hosting a financial technology boot camp Saturday for local high school and university students to learn about the industry and prospective career paths.

“A key aspect into making Western Mass. a fintech hub is tapping into the local community and creating an ecosystem and innovation hub to foster collaboration and solidify relationships in the different sectors to pool ideas, resources and talent,” said university President Robert E. Johnson.

This is the third boot camp that Mass. Fintech Hub and the university have hosted. About 75 students are expected to attend as leaders have opened the program to neighboring communities and younger students.

Mass. Fintech Hub is a public-private partnership of financial technology leaders, financial experts, academics, public sector leaders, and venture capitalists who aim empower fintech startups to achieve success.

“There was a lot more marketing this year to the high school students and the neighborhood communities because they will be impacted the most by technology,” said Charles Mutigwe, professor of business analytics and information management at the university and a representative of Mass Fintech Hub.

Since younger students are using technology at higher rates, they may have viable innovative ideas, Mutigwe said.

“We need to be able to provide the entrepreneurial skills and mindsets to prepare student for the jobs of the future,” Johnson said. “Universities have financial and technology needs and demands. What the boot camp is doing is creating an ecosystem that will help the overall industry and community to thrive.”

A fintech hub includes public and private partnerships in finance, technology along with leaders in academia, policy makers with the goal to bring people together to empower startup businesses in the Pioneer Valley.

While state leaders raise concerns about workforce gaps and creating pathways to fill available trades as baby boomers retire, there is an ever greater need to expose students to the many opportunities in financial technology. “There is a paradigm shift,” Mutigwe said. “This initiative is on-time to prepare students to look ahead. The youngest generation will see different kinds of interaction. We must reimagine the future and engage with technology differently.”

The boot camp aims to prepare students for the future, in college and the business world. “In an almost completely digital world, there is a need for people to create new platforms where commerce is taking place,” Mutigwe said.

“Fintech career pathways that will be explored will not just be IT (information technology) and coding but also the bootcamp will include information on marketing, human resources and the management of talent pools, accounting,” Mutigwe said. “Fintech also ties into the current world of marketing because it is moving to digital platforms like Instagram and Twitter.”

Next year, a major goal for the partners is to create a financial technology incubator focused on startup resources, local job creation, training and updated curriculum offerings, in addition to providing training to those currently in the workforce.

According to Mutigwe, experts say Western Mass is a good location for a financial technology hub because of the infrastructure of the state, its academic institutions, good workforce base, and financial institutions.

“We are poised to become an area leader and Western New England University and partners are involved in the fintech evolution in all aspects,” Mutigwe said.

In addition to Western New England University, Mass Fintech Hub partners include Mass Mutual, Roger L. Putnam Academy, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The boot camp will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rivers Memorial Hall on the university campus, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield.

For more information on the Mass. Fintech Hub Bootcamp series, visit

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