Fiserv and Rutgers University–Newark announced Monday morning that they are partnering to create and fund the Fiserv-RU-N Program for Inclusive Innovation, which is designed to drive diversity and innovation within the financial technology field — including a pathway for career opportunities for those from underserved communities.
The Fiserv-RU-N Program for Inclusive Innovation will create a center on the Rutgers-Newark campus on Washington Street that will serve as a research and incubation space for the Rutgers-Newark community of students and faculty, enabling them to better collaborate with local businesses.
The program also will support research involving technology and commerce, such as cybersecurity and legal and ethical topics surrounding fintech, Fiserv officials said.
Fiserv will provide $5.15 million in total funding for the Fiserv-RU-N program. In addition to enabling the establishment of the center, this funding will support 40 annual scholarships of $2,500 each (including 10 for military veterans attending RU-N and 10 for Rutgers Business School students, with a priority given to those studying finance and information technology).
Fiserv also will support career modules to prepare students for internships and jobs, including positions within the company.
The announcement comes nearly a year after Fiserv, a Fortune 500 company that is a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology, announced it intends to massively expand its presence in New Jersey. The company will open a large campus in Berkeley Heights next month.
Fiserv Chairman and CEO Frank Bisignano said the program is a win for the company, the school and consumers.
“Consumer expectations for financial services and payment experiences continue to evolve, creating a demand for continuous innovation,” he said. “This program will add a new dimension to our ability to bring together a diverse range of perspectives as we develop new answers to the challenges faced by our clients and the financial services industry.
“With nearly every household in the U.S. having a touchpoint with a Fiserv solution, from digital banking to card payments, we have a tremendous opportunity to deliver capabilities that enhance financial services experiences. We’re energized by the opportunity to cultivate great talent and ideas through the Fiserv-RU-N Program.”
Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor said the school welcome the chance to collaborate.
“This is a watershed moment for Rutgers-Newark,” she said. “Fiserv is a visionary company that shares our sense of urgency in building and broadening pathways to business and tech careers for students from our increasingly diverse communities and shares our understanding that doing this helps drive innovation forward.
“We’re creating an unprecedented partnership right here in Newark. Its nerve center will be a collaborative innovation lab right on Washington Street where we can set new standards for the fintech industry, where experienced professionals work side by side with university researchers and professionals of tomorrow from Newark, Greater Newark and beyond, leveraging diversity, creating better, smarter solutions by bringing people from many backgrounds together to tackle problems.’’
In addition to the Fiserv-RU-N Program, Fiserv continues to support Rutgers-Newark efforts like the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development and Rutgers Advanced Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, which work with minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in Newark and other New Jersey municipalities.
Fiserv Chief Operating Officer Guy Chiarello said building an inclusive workforce is a priority.
“Bringing diverse perspectives into the financial technology field enables us to better anticipate consumer needs and serve clients,” he said. “The novel insights generated by this partnership and physical space will spur research and innovation, to help facilitate commerce in the Newark region and beyond.’’
Gov. Phil Murphy said the program fits his vision and mission to create an innovative economy in the state.
“Through its synergy with Rutgers-Newark, Fiserv will foster inclusive innovation in New Jersey’s largest city,” he said. “The tremendous growth and success of Fiserv in New Jersey epitomize what a company can achieve when it creates value while simultaneously reflecting the values of its customers.
“Diversity and inclusion are core principles that define us as New Jerseyans, and I am delighted that Fiserv is launching initiatives that not only embody, but build upon, those principles.”