Finance remains a male-dominated industry. That is in spite of some excellent initiatives around the world. And it is not better for fintech and blockchain, even though they are younger fields. It is rare to find a blockchain entrepreneur who is a woman. However, there are a few notable exceptions. The kind that are raising the hopes that things can and do change. We can have more successful female entrepreneurs that can be role models for future generations. Greater equity and inclusion is within reach, and we therefore wanted to start off the year with a positive story. We asked a few questions to Sukhi Jutla, Co-founder and COO of MarketOrders. She is a blockchain entrepreneur who can be very much defined as a fintech veteran.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. You have been named as one of the UK’s 100 most inspirational female entrepreneurs. Tell us more.
It’s an honour to be recognised in this list. There are many amazing women starting and building businesses. Therefore, it’s important to shine a spotlight on the work they do. It encourages the next generation to believe in themselves. They see role models they can learn from. Typically, males are more likely to be entrepreneurs than their female counterparts. In fact in the UK, for every ten male entrepreneurs, there are fewer than five female entrepreneurs. That’s according to a study by the UK government.
There are many enterprising and inspirational women entrepreneurs. But that doesn’t mean many people know about them. The first time I saw such an example was as a 10-year-old. It was an article in my local newspaper. An Asian woman who had opened her own beauty salon and was running a successful business.
I remember looking at her picture, and for the first time thinking ‘I can be like her too’. When you see real-life examples who look like you, you believe in yourself even more. And that can kick-start your entrepreneurial path.
I personally came from a background where going into business was not considered appropriate for an Asian woman. It’s only when I read about someone like me that I saw the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur.
Before founding MarketOrders, you had been involved in the fintech industry for quite a while. We can even that you are a fintech veteran. Can you tell use more about it?
MarketOrders is an online global marketplace for the gold and diamond jewellery trade industry. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I spent over a decade working in financial services. I specifically worked in banking where I came across the term ‘fintech’.
During my time working in banks, I came across blockchain technology. I then started to read about it, watch educational videos and listen to podcasts.
I wrote two books on blockchain technology: ‘The Fintech book’ and ‘Blockchain for Books’.
Ironically, it was my self-help career book that was published using blockchain: ‘Escape the Cubicle: Quit the Job You Hate, Create a Life You Love’ (ad).
This was revolutionary. It meant I could now sell my books directly to readers. I would receive the money instantly rather than go through publishers. They are just middlemen who often add layers of inefficiency into the process. It can take up to 3-6 months to make royalty payments. In comparison, payments on the blockchain can take seconds to settle.
Any fintech or blockchain, finance innovation use cases that you are really excited about?
I’m really excited about financial innovation in our everyday banking transactions. We still rely on very antiquated processes. These are run by very old institutions who are hesitant to change. What excites me is more innovation in this space by new entrepreneurs building startups. Use cases to help move money faster and digitally. In an age where digital processes run almost every part of our lives.
You’re a blockchain entrepreneur and have been quite active in the crypto space. What’s your view on the recent Bitcoin rally?
The current pandemic has created a lot of turmoil and instability in the economy. This has led investors to consider other forms of assets they can invest in. For instance Bitcoin, which is why it has rallied. It is great that more people are becoming aware of crypto-assets. But volatility is still strong. We could see volatility come down as the economy picks up in one to two years.
Anything in particular that you are working on or on your roadmap that you want people to know about?
At MarketOrders we are excited to develop a blockchain-based solution to help with provenance of high value items. As well as the ability to pay for products using our own token. Watch this space as development is still underway!