Clive, could you tell us a bit more about you?
Well, first, I would like to say, I am English, but I am married to a French woman and have spent half of my working career in Luxembourg. I’m an ex qualified banker – qualified in the UK – and basically a credit controller. I spent the last 16 years of my career installing core banking systems all around the World, in fact, but based out of Luxembourg on a system called Olympic but also a trade finance system. What I wanted to say also is I learned about helping others through scouting and of course from my mother and my father… my mother first perhaps then my father!
What are you currently working on?
Officially I’m retired in Luxembourg, rather early, especially compared to the UK. Now I have founded a new company and we want to promote the idea of a socio-economic conscience, and how one might create social and ecological change across the World. We are working on the links between social innovation, financial literacy and economic needs. We want to help people create and do things which will change the World in line with future predictions.
How do you do it?
We’ve created this company which we call MFTSE Affairs S.A., it stands for “My Financial To Socio Economic Affairs”. Our main project is a new European social network which is focused on socio-economic affairs. The web platform is called “Finance Eco Money.org” or “fem.lu” for short. We also have a partnership with an online newspaper called chronicle.lu. We have plans for printed articles, perhaps radio podcasts, TV and video, the first examples of which are on our website.
What were your main motivations for launching your start-up? What were the convictions that led you to this project?
I suppose, to be fair, going into retirement I thought “what am I going to be doing with the next 20-30 years of my life?”. I remember my wife saying “you’re going to have to get involved with charity and things like that”. I thought “yeah-yeah…”, we’re in Luxembourg, charity is, of course, slightly different here. Underlying all of that I wanted to help change things, as I was saying before, in line with the new industrial revolution (the Internet of Things, etc…) and through the new networked community, with more social enterprise creating a fairer and less greedy world.
What attracted you to do that in Luxembourg?
Of course I have a long history here and, as I said right at the beginning, half of my career has been in Luxembourg, now we’re back here and we intend to stay here at least on a semi-permanent basis. My wife is French so I think for final retirement we’ll probably take some time out in France. Luxembourg is really the centre of Europe, at least the centre of continental Europe. It’s wonderfully multicultural, with little or no prejudice, it’s small with relatively easy and rapid access to decision makers and of course if we are really going to help change the World we need those decision makers! Basically, Luxembourg we consider to be a good place for fostering ideas and a perfect testing ground for such an enterprise.
What are the next steps of your development?
Having launched, in early February, our website and at the same time the company, clearly our most urgent objective is membership of the site. The more members we have the more we can impress upon people that we’re building something real that is going to change things. At the same time, of course, we would like to attract partners & supporters for our basic business model. We have a professional membership which enables people to automatically have their own webpage on our website. Then there is the revenue side which is less recurring: we want our people to be able to give speeches and trainings, in all sorts of areas across the different socio-economic and financial domains, but also to do with start-ups, particularly in Luxembourg. We want to help the ecosystem here and share what we have learnt from the rest of the world already.
When I talk about the different financial areas, they are on the website in what we call the “FEM power” menu. It’s the place in which we believe people will find ways to help them realise socio-economic ideas and innovations. We want to really encourage innovative ideas and so we have an area on the website already where people can create their own open-source products or, of course, use those of others. Use, change or improve them, etc., thus providing something extra that also aims to keep people on the platform.
Of course the platform also allows you to copy articles and information or ideas onto other social networks thereby encouraging new members to use and exchange their ideas and innovations. In this next period, despite being live, we clearly still have a very big project to complete which is now in its prototype phase.
Initially we want to concentrate on three main areas: firstly, we would like to help ensure security, particularly identity on the Internet, through other partners and promotion of what they’re doing. Then we hope to be able to create a funds matrix which will really enable people to make their own choices about what source of funds they would like to invest in before going to the professionals to invest. Thirdly, on the asset side of the balance sheet, we want to promote and work on micro finance and micro insurance, with the idea that these are one of the main future products to help raise up the poor.
Discover the video about MFTSE or visit the website.