Scottish FinTech Miconex is expanding from its UK base with new contracts to deliver gift card programmes in Canada, the USA and Ireland, in association with international payments technology solutions provider EML Payments.
Miconex operates over 45 Town and City Gift Card programmes across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and will use its infrastructure and experience of working with towns and cities in the UK to drive the international expansion. Town and City Gift Card programmes lock in spend locally and drive local economic recovery.
The expansion strengthens Miconex’s long-term association with EML Payments (ASX: EML), which has offices in the UK, the rest of Europe, North America and Australia, and manages programmes across 28 countries on Mastercard, Visa, Eftpos and Discover.
The Canada’s Food Island Gift Card, which launched on the 28th September, is designed to encourage visitors and locals to spend on the island, stimulate the economy and extend the tourist season. Over 150 businesses on Prince Edward Island are registered to receive the gift card as payment, including restaurants, golf courses, attractions, local markets and shops.
Kent Thompson, Director of Finance and Food Tourism for Food Island Partnership said the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card will go some way to easing the shortfall from cancelled tourism initiatives.
“Our Fall Flavours campaign usually takes place in September on Prince Edward Island, bringing in people from every province in Canada and 12 states of the US. The loss of 20,000 room nights and £3-4 million in revenue is scary. Many of our merchants are reliant on that income, and we had to ask ourselves how we could best help them.”
“One benefit of the gift card programme is that it uses existing equipment that merchants already have, there are no extra overheads for them. The data possibilities are also very exciting, we can run multiple promotions and get them going really quickly. We’ll have data across the year too, which we can use to make key decisions.”
“As well as tourism, we’ll use the card to encourage the 150,000 residents of Prince Edward Island to shop local. We’re launching the cards at a 20% discount initially to make it really easy for consumers to shop local.”
In North America, Miconex is working alongside EML to deliver a downtown gift card concept for Downtown Lynchburg in Virginia, Downtown Billings in Montana and an initiative in Cordova, Alaska where federal funds will be dispersed to the local population. EML provides over 500 mall gift card programmes in North America and the technology for 100 downtown gift card programmes.
Miconex will also introduce Ireland to its portfolio of countries with a new Town and City Gift Card for Drogheda in County Louth, and an additional Canadian programme for Downtown Peterborough in Ontario.
The Scots tech firm has introduced 4 new gift card programmes in the UK since lockdown in Southport, Leicester, East Ayrshire and Camberley. Programmes for Yorkshire, Barnsley, Falkirk, Bury St. Edmunds, Knowsley, the Isle of Wight, Tavistock and an additional scheme in Perthshire are in development.
Whilst the international technology sector’s pace of revenue growth in Q2 2020 decelerated to 8%* year on year, initial analyses is showing that investment in UK tech firms was up 34% between March 23rd and April 27th 2020. FinTech remains the UK’s largest tech investment sector with a 100% rise from 2018; the UK digital technology sector grew 6 times faster than any other economy in 2019, contributing £149 billion to the UK economy.
CEO Americas at EML, Ailie Kofoid stated: ''It was only a matter of time before our award-winning partner, Miconex went global. More than ever, its easily accessible, high tech economic stimulus campaigns are invaluable for towns and cities not just in the US, Canada and Ireland, but, across the world. We are here to support such visionary programmes and enable industry leaders like Colin to assist millions of families in these uncertain times.''
As a tech firm experiencing strong growth, Managing Director of Miconex, Colin Munro, believes that the expansion of the firm into North America, Canada and Ireland is the natural development for the business.
“Since the pandemic, there has been increased interest in tools that can benefit business communities. The model we have in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is replicable to different territories, and our association with EML makes us particularly well placed to serve markets across Europe and North America. Miconex delivers the client interface, whilst EML provides the technology.”
“We’re taking the tried and tested infrastructure of our Town and City Gift Card programmes and adapting it to the needs of the specific country or marketplace. Miconex Inc. was set up in June to cater for the North American market and we’ll set up an Irish subsidiary to support our new Drogheda programme, enabling us to trade into the Eurozone.”
“In the US, our ambition is to provide hundreds more programmes over the next 3 years through our partnerships with downtowns, and our ongoing association with EML, locking in millions of dollars in sales for local businesses.”
Mr. Munro believes the increased interest in shopping local, alongside initiatives such as the Scottish government-backed Scotland Loves Local campaign and the UK government’s Shop Local Week have benefitted the tech firm:
“We are fortunate to be in a sector that people are investing in. When we set up Miconex, our mission was always connecting business communities with local customers, but the pandemic has placed this mission into the spotlight with the need to drive local spend.”
“It’s not possible for us as a business to control the macro forces that impact upon us. Our focus has been removing barriers for towns and cities to work with us and ultimately creating a service that works for our clients, and for the businesses we serve.”