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Transforming Business Financing Through Fintech

In the latest episode of Programmable World, host Dan Ilett interviews Joel Blake OBE


Joel is the founder of the GFA Exchange, a credit risk management company that uses AI to allow financiers to monitor the monetary health of clients in real time. 


Dan and Joel sat down to discuss the story of his company.


Where it all began

Joel’s story started in the West Midlands where he was raised. Despite feeling that his area was one of a rich creative diversity, growing up as a working class person of colour in Birmingham left him initially feeling pigeonholed by his background. 

His school careers advisor assumed he’d become a carpenter. He argues that in a way this was not entirely inaccurate, as across his career he has used the fintech space to ‘make things, but in a different way’.


Establishing GFA Exchange 


Building on his strong feeling that fintech should be inclusive of developing businesses, the GFA Exchange was founded in 2012.

The GFA Exchange aims to ensure that every business should have the opportunity to obtain the financing it needs to expand. The company’s values are fairness, inclusivity, and authenticity. 

The GFA Exchange is an AI-driven technology that aims to open up new business prospects for financial lenders on a large scale. Their method enables them to understand and provide proof of a company’s development, potential and performance, regardless of what the company is or where it is located. Clients are evaluated against a set of growth KPIs centred only on financial health.


Real-time information and intelligence

After 20 years offering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) direct loans and other forms of help, Joel believed that the financial services industry was failing to properly address the requirements of all firms. He says that “they were having to say no to three times as many businesses as they were saying yes to.” 

The GFA Exchange aims to change that model, allowing lenders to have a real-time and comprehensive understanding of client companies’ health and prospects, meaning firms can access exactly the financing they need while maintaining security for lenders.


Generating new technologies 

Joel argues that finance has the potential to be further transformed by digital currencies and that this will benefit emerging economies the most.

As a result of the crypto economy, an alternative infrastructure has become available to anybody with an internet connection, regardless of nationality, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. 

Joel says that the cryptocurrency market is generating real technologies, centred around value storage, peer-to-peer micropayments, lending, margin/collateralization, market development, and price discovery.


A brave new world

Joel feels that new and exciting opportunities, such as this, are emerging across the whole fintech space. Businesses require investment to thrive and the GFA Exchange is just an example of how this process can be transformed and improved.


For the full story from Joel, you can listen to the episode here.


Stay tuned to the Programmable World podcast here.

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