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Joel Blake OBE

Joel is a rebel entrepreneur, business leader, keynote public speaker, and non-executive director who is highly regarded for his efforts to make finance and business support services more inclusive. He has founded two organisations that focus on leveraging technology and data intelligence to promote financial inclusion and share best practices in the financial services industry. His fintech startup, GFA Exchange, utilises automation AI to help firms reduce the risk and costs associated with expanding finance to underserved businesses and markets. The company has received recognition for its innovative approach, earning awards and accolades. Joel is also the founder of FIN, a not-for-profit financial think-tank that employs data intelligence technology to assist global financial services firms in developing and disseminating best practices in financial inclusion. Through this organisation, he contributes to shaping strategies that foster inclusive capital growth. Joel has built a reputation as a leader in inclusive finance and business innovation, particularly within the banking, financial, and professional services sectors. With more than 22 years of experience, he has provided advice and consultation to blue-chip corporates, C-suite executives, policymakers, economists, and central government officials, focusing on developing strategies that promote inclusive capital growth. Prior to his current endeavours, Joel co-founded and played a significant role in scaling an SME lending firm, which successfully funded over 700 small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, he co-founded the Midlands CSR Summit, an annual business summit that brings together top leaders from various sectors to shape the balance between commercial growth and societal impact. Furthermore, Joel served as the President of the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce, where he facilitated global business partnerships between UK businesses and those in key Commonwealth trading countries. His ability to build authentic relationships and networks has been instrumental in establishing strong partnerships with global organisations, government bodies, venture capitalists, and social impact-led groups. Joel's commitment to social impact extends beyond the business realm. He currently chairs Employability UK, an award-winning employability skills charity, and frequently serves as a judge for various business awards, including the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Women in IT Awards, and EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (Ernst and Young). In recognition of his significant contributions and Service to Business Support and Enterprise, Joel was honoured with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by the British Royal Family in 2016.

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