The Alternative Finance Forum 2023, held on April 26th and 27th in Thessaloniki (Greece), brought together an outstanding group of experts and leaders from the fintech and social capital sectors to discuss the newest trends and innovations in alternative finance.
The Forum, sponsored by the European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute, a part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group, aimed to explore the intersection of “Money. Innovation. Sustainability.” and their crucial importance in the finance industry.
The rise and fast growth of the alternative finance industry is a response to the inefficiencies of the traditional finance system that is based on banks and working within a traditional monetary system paradigm that is not able to meet all the challenges of the future.
The AFF2023 provided a platform for dialogue and collaboration in the industry, paving the way for a more innovative, sustainable, and equitable future. The success of the event proves the growing interest in alternative finance and its potential to make a positive impact on society and the planet.
The AFF2023 offered a diverse program of discussions and presentations featuring: 2 keynote speakers, 2 guests of honor, 8 moderators of the sessions, 24 presenters of alternative finance solutions, 5 contributors to the AFF Toolbox presentations, 2 rapporteurs, and 14 sponsors.
During the event, professionals from the social and alternative finance sector, such as microfinance and micro-equity providers, social and fintech entrepreneurs, cryptocurrency, and crowdfunding experts among others, engaged in discussions about the role of innovation in driving the growth of alternative finance and the effects of emerging technologies like blockchain and AI on the industry.
They also discussed the importance of cooperation and partnerships, the use of alternative finance for promoting sustainability and social impact, the development of solutions to provide financial services to underserved communities, and the need to enhance inclusion.
“Events like the AFF are vital to share new ideas and inspiration to make the finance sector fit to tackle our most pressing global challenges. We came to learn about alternative ways to secure a more inclusive, sustainable and regenerative future with the help of communities and innovation. And we did learn a lot. The calibre and commitment of the speakers was impressive and the lively discussions in and off stage offered us with valuable insights into numerous solutions – be it fintech for the elderly, impact investment or decentralized autonomous organizations. This gives us hope that a brighter future for all is possible and especially for women, refugees or the elderly.“ commented Shiva Dustdar, Director, Head of the EIB Institute.
Day one of AFF2023 focused on innovations in financial services, and the discussions mainly revolved around the latest advancements in digital identification and onboarding, open and decentralized finance, financing for SMEs, and emerging fintech business models. The Forum started with an overview of alternative finance and its importance for financial market development and sustainability. The speakers presented cutting-edge financial innovations in various domains of financial services: from creating digital identities, how traditional financial institutions and DeFi platforms may coexist and collaborate for mutual benefits, new credit solutions, key financial products such as factoring, e-invoicing, embedded finance, and business models and innovations that drive inclusion. These real-life cases present the richness of alternative finance solutions that change how we use money in our daily lives and inspire others to engage in applying technology in a meaningful and responsible way to improve well-being of individuals and the society.
Day Two of the event delved into the latest developments in social capital innovations, with a particular focus on fintech for longevity, green and climate finance, impact investing, alternative currencies and circular economies, social entrepreneurship supported by microfinance, and DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) tools utilized in creating alternative economic systems. Distinguished speakers referred to tailor made financial Instruments including quasi-equity and social impact bonds to scale their impact. In addition, knowing that “infinite growth in a finite world is materially impossible”, it is essential to take into account the environmental and social aspects in order to create a new form of growth.
“The richness and diversity of alternative finance shows that it is no longer a fringe experimentation on the sides of the mainstream finance, but it is a serious challenger that is poised to shape how the money is created and used for the benefit of the society. It is no longer a niche player, but a serious addition to the financial system that is well positioned to improve the functioning of the traditional financial markets while serving the needs of the future: saving the planet from destruction and ensuring safe and just conditions for the humanity” commented Piotr Korynski, forum leader & founder at Vantage Strategies.
AFF2023 is being sponsored by the EIB Institute on behalf of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group.
In addition to EIB Group, AFF Forum was sponsored by FONDI BESA, Comarch, PLEO, BCRS Social Finance, ΜicroΕurope, Greek Fintech Cluster, microsmart, while FinTech Magazine, Eur2Day.gr, epixeiro.gr, GR TiMEs, Thes.gr and SME Banking Club were among the forum’s media partners.
Pictures of the event are availble here.