By Kevin Tweddle, ICBA
It was a busy start to the year on the ICBA innovation front. We wrapped our ThinkTECH Accelerator 12-week mentorship program and held two demo days for the eight finalist companies that completed our accelerator program. We introduced these companies and demonstrated their solutions at ICBA LIVE’s ThinkTECH showcase last month in Nashville, Tenn., and again the following week for the local community in Little Rock, Ark.
There are two important facets to the ThinkTECH program. Certainly, the involvement of our community banks in problem identification, fintech selection and mentorship is unique to ICBA’s brand of accelerator. It ensures our banks have an impact on our industry’s future. In addition, through our mentorship program, we have an opportunity to “teach” early-stage companies about community banking. This includes how to design solutions, guidance on integration needs, pricing, and the sales and delivery process. The intention is to remove risk from the buying process for community banks, accelerate the companies’ ability to deliver more relevant solutions at a faster pace and provide better outcomes.
I get the question “Why Little Rock?” frequently. The reason for that is because it involves the collaboration of our program partner, The Venture Center, which is located in Little Rock, as well as the support of the City of Little Rock and the State of Arkansas. The Venture Center has significant experience in running accelerator programs and has a strong understanding of community banking. The city and state have provided support for the program and have built a strong tech community. Several of the companies in the program will relocate to Little Rock and build their companies, create jobs in the community and diversify their local economy. Indirectly, ICBA is involved in building communities and businesses that create a better local banking environment. We feel this program sets the example for the rest of the country on how to build better communities.
The 12-week mentorship program also allowed ICBA to take advantage of our unique resources to provide the best program possible. We hosted 41 community bank executives, 12 regulators, 12 core processing executives and 53 subject matter experts, as well as 37 of our own employee experts. It took an army to get this done, and we certainly had tremendous contributions from our ICBA community to help make this program successful.
We enjoyed introducing our ThinkTECH Accelerator finalists at ICBA LIVE 2019, and look foward to including them in our corporate membership program to better serve your needs.
Kevin Tweddle (email@example.com) is chief operating officer of the ICBA Services Network