Nesta launches £5m prize fund for digital entrepreneurs creating next-gen services

The ‘Open Up Challenge’ will look for 20 start-ups that will use open banking APIs to “transform the way small businesses use core financial products”

Nesta has launched a new £5m prize fund aimed to help digital entrepreneurs create next-gen services.

The ‘Open Up Challenge’ will look for 20 companies that will use the UK’s open banking APIs to “transform the way small businesses discover, access and use core financial products”.

With a closing date of 31 May, the fund is open to businesses of all size and concepts may be at idea stage or more advanced.

Entrants will have the potential to receive:

  • A £50,000 grant plus a further £3.5m if successful during the Challenge
  • Exclusive access to the Open Up Data Sandbox
  • Fully funded technical and business support provided by leading practitioners

Launching in January 2018, open banking will see small businesses have access to a unprecedented range of financial services, as they will be able to securely share their bank account and transaction data with third party APIs.

Chris Gorst, challenge prize lead at Nesta, said:

“We are looking for entrants who can combine insight into the problems small businesses face with technological skill and commercial know-how.  The Challenge offers entrants a gateway to innovation through up-front grants and prizes from a £5m fund, business support from key influencers in the industry and exclusive access to our Open Up Data Sandbox to test and develop their ideas.

“The coming year marks a unique moment in which technology and regulatory change combine to drive innovation in small business banking. Entrants to the prize will have the opportunity to shake up small business banking by transforming the way small businesses discover, access and use core financial products and services.”

For more information on the fund click here.

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