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New fintech center launched at University of Utah

The University of Utah today announced a new donor-funded initiative meant to supercharge the student entrepreneurial experience and Utah’s reputation for financial technology innovation and education.

The university, in partnership with the Stena Foundation and its founders Steve and Jana Smith, will create the Stena Center for Financial Technology. The foundation is orchestrating total funding of up to $65 million over the next 10 years to support the center, including industry-sponsored labs, a start-up incubator, venture funds, and fintech-focused degrees and certificates. Reinvestments from the venture funds are ultimately expected to fund the center in perpetuity.

University President Taylor Randall says pairing education with fintech is a powerful combination. “The Stena Center for Financial Technology provides the ability to accelerate and incubate important advances in financial technology innovation and businesses that will continue to propel the fintech industry forward and cement Utah as a center of excellence,” Randall said. “This world-class center will leverage our unparalleled research and education with resources that provide critical hands-on experiences for students.”

The center will collaborate an array of academic units on campus to develop programs and degrees. In conjunction with the center’s development, the university recently began offering a minor emphasis in fintech. Over the next four years, the it will also begin offering undergraduate and master’s degrees in fintech.

The center’s initiatives will begin with an incubator — the fintechXstudio — and venture capital funds will be made available to qualifying student founders working in the field of financial technology. With six research-focused labs, industry-sponsored projects, an innovation hub and student-focused investment funds, the center aims to unite education and industry to accelerate financial innovation and inclusion in Utah and beyond. It will be led by executive director Ryan Christiansen.

“The Stena Foundation is delighted to partner with the University of Utah and other leading financial technology organizations in the creation of the Stena Center for Financial Technology,” said Steve Smith. “This progressive center, in alignment with its strategic partners, will build on the success of the fintech community in Utah and will become a major hub for ongoing financial technology innovation and real economic impact.”

“The Stena Center will blend Utah’s broad fintech industry experience with U students’ energy and creativity,” said Christiansen. “This unique partnership will connect financial technology leaders’ workforce skills and experience with students’ passion and ideas — accelerating innovation to place Utah at the forefront of global fintech excellence.”

Source: The University of Utah

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