Discover Nesta’s £5m “Open Up Challenge” in Leeds


Open-Up ChallengeIn the run up to the FinTech North conference – where Nesta will be joining a discussion on open banking – a ‘Discovery’ event has been planned in Leeds (29th March, 1 Aire Street). FinTech and other data technology start-ups can attend to learn more about the open banking opportunity and how to apply to the challenge.

The Open Up Challenge is a £5m prize fund to inspire the creation of next-generation services, apps and tools designed for the UK’s five million small businesses. The challenge is looking for 20 winning entries from anywhere in the world that will use open banking APIs – newly available from early 2018 – to transform the way small businesses discover, access and use core financial products.

The application window for the Innovation Stage of the Open Up Challenge opens 23rd March and closes 31st May.

Winners will receive:

Equity-free cash awards: 20 entrants will receive a £50k up-front grant each, with ten sharing in a £1m reward pot in December 2017 (participants who join the 2018 Market Ready Stage will get a further grant, and up to three will share in a £2m reward pot);

Open Up Data Sandbox: exclusive access to a data sandbox containing one of the largest anonymised UK banking transaction datasets ever made available; and

Technical and business support: fully funded support provided by leading practitioners, ranging from user experience to specialised legal and regulatory guidance.

Chris Gorst, Open Up Challenge Prize Lead at Nesta, said:

“Open Banking has the potential to transform small business banking, leading to a step change in innovation and offering busy customers unprecedented transparency, convenience and control. The Open Up Challenge aims to make this a reality, by supporting innovators building next generation services centred around small businesses’ needs. We see the North as a key hub for Fintech innovation and are delighted to be working with Fintech North to bring the Open-Up Challenge to the region.”

Stefan Haase, Associate at Whitecap Consulting, commented:

“The Leeds City Region and further afield hosts many talented companies active in the finance and technology sectors. We are delighted to be working with Nesta, and looking forward to promoting this great opportunity to new and aspiring FinTech companies in the region.”

FinTech North 2017 is organised by Leeds-based White Label Crowdfunding, Whitecap Consulting and FiNexus, and will be hosted on the 26th April 2017 at aql in Leeds. The event will feature a range of well-known keynote speakers discussing topics including innovation, alternative finance, big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, APIs and blockchain.

Other organisations to have pledged their support to the FinTech North conference include aql, Computershare, Munroe K, FiNexus, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Nostrum Group.

You can read more details about Fintech North on the official website, and register for the event here.

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