IC tomorrow, a digital innovation programme at Innovate UK, has launched a financial technology competition to support Britain’s strongest entrepreneurial talent.
The contest will enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to test new ideas and products in partnership with some of the biggest names in the sector.
Five businesses will be awarded up to £35,000 each for digital innovations across themes such as education, cyber security and personal finance. Winners will work with banking, credit and advisory heavyweights, including American Express, Accenture, Lloyds Banking Group, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) with RBS Group, Money Advice Service and Experian.
The UK is recognised as one of the world’s leading financial technology hubs, attracting ambitious, game-changing start-ups from around the world. In a recent report published by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), independent research suggests that the fintech market, including payments, platforms, software and data analytics, is already worth £20 billion to the UK annually.
In addition to the £35,000 funding and business partnerships afforded by the contest, the five winning entrepreneurs will retain 100 per cent of their IP. Successful applicants will receive promotion, support and advice to speed up their ideas to commercialisation stage.
The five categories and their respective partners are:
- Personal financial management – Money Advice Service and Experian
- Cyber Security – the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) with RBS Group
- Consumer financial literacy – Lloyds Banking Group
- Hyper-local transactions – American Express
- Compliance and regulation – Accenture
The deadline for applications is 12pm, Tuesday 21 April 2015. Shortlisted entries will be invited to a live pitch and Q&A with a panel of judges, and the final trial launch for successful applicants is scheduled to take place in spring 2016.
Matt Sansam, programme manager at IC tomorrow, said: “The UK has become a hotbed for financial technology innovation, with many of the world’s fastest growing companies basing themselves here. This collaborative contest aims to support and accelerate their growth by providing commercial introductions to industry leaders. It also enables UK-based global players to harness the creativity of start-ups and help bring their ideas to market.”
Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey said that proper cyber security is crucial for keeping finances safe:
“Good cyber security is crucial to keeping our finances safe, which is why we’re supporting this contest to develop innovative new ways of securing the technology we use,” he said.
“Supporting innovation and growth in Britain’s small businesses a key part of the Government’s long term economic plan. I hope that this contest encourages firms to get creative and develop the secure financial innovations of the future.”
Marc Lien, Lloyds Banking Group Innovation and Digital Development Director, said: "We were keen to support Innovate UK in encouraging the country's most creative digital start-ups to identify solutions that will make a real difference to people's lives. We know that improving financial literacy has a significant benefit to society, empowering people to understand their finances and better manage their money. It is also central to building a stronger economy, which together reinforce the commitments Lloyds Banking Group has made to help Britain prosper."