The 5-day round-the-clock Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) and the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) ended on 12 December 2020 with over 3.5 million session views on the online event platform and social media.
The event attracted 60,000 participants from over 160 countries with more than 2,000 speakers, over 1,300 exhibitors, 27 international pavilions, and 45 satellite events hosted by partner cities across the world. In addition, selected SFF sessions were broadcast live via local and international TV. More than 4,400 business meetings were facilitated through SFF x SWITCH, including over 1,000 virtual meetings between technology seekers and providers conducted through IPI’s TechInnovation platform. SFF x SWITCH 2020 session recordings will be made available for free over the course of the next few months on SFF and SWITCH’s respective YouTube channels.
Several industry initiatives were announced at SFF x SWITCH:
- The Asian Institute of Digital Finance, hosted by the National University of Singapore, and backed by MAS and the National Research Foundation (NRF), to develop capabilities for digital financial services in Asia.
- The S$12 million Singapore Blockchain Innovation Programme by ESG, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), NRF, and supported by MAS, to strengthen Singapore’s blockchain ecosystem.
- The Singapore Financial Data Exchange, jointly developed by MAS and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, together with the key retail banks in Singapore, to enable individuals to consolidate their financial information residing in different banks and government agencies.
- A pilot for a technology platform by MAS, the Ministry of Health, and the Integrated Health Information Systems, in collaboration with the insurance and healthcare sectors, to securely share data with the patient’s consent to enable more efficient claims processing for hospitalisation.
- Project Greenprint – a technology platform by MAS aimed at promoting a green financial ecosystem, and driven by a consortium of financial institutions, fintech firms, and industry players with expertise in Green fintech.
International Co-operation Initiatives
International cooperation initiatives that were announced include
- A first-of-its-kind national faster payment systems linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay to go live by mid-2021, allowing users to send money directly between the two countries instantly, securely, at competitive rates, and at any time of the day.
- Start of discussions between MAS and the Bank of Ghana to adopt the Business sans Borders open hub of platforms between Singapore and Ghana as well as work on a complementary Financial Trust Corridor, to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-SMEs in both countries.
- A partnership agreement between MAS and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development to provide SMEs with innovative financial and digital tools to help them better leverage data and more effectively access financing solutions.
- An agreement between MAS and the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) to strengthen cooperation in fintech innovation between Singapore and Hungary, and facilitate joint innovation projects between MAS and MNB
- Expansion of ESG’s Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network to Manila and Shenzhen, to support the foray of Singapore innovative startups and SMEs into key global innovation nodes, bringing the total GIA network to 15 cities globally.
SFF x SWITCH 2020 saw the launch of new innovation challenges to solve industry problems, and the selection of winners for ongoing innovation challenges.
- New open innovation challenges launched include the Food Waste National Innovation Challenge led by the National Environment Agency, JTC Corporation and ESG to address the sustainable and automated segregation, disposal and treatment of food waste, as well as a first-of-its-kind Southeast Asia Open Innovation Challenge involving five regional corporate partners.
- SFF 2020 celebrated the winning solutions of the 2020 MAS Global Fintech Innovation Challenge seeking solutions that address the challenges faced by the financial industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. There were 3 winners for the Global Fintech Hackcelerator and 12 winners for the fintech Awards
- SLINGSHOT 2020 saw 16 start-ups emerging as winners, from over 7,500 applications from 159 countries, with Singapore-based start-up NextBillion.ai crowned the grand prize winner. SLINGSHOT also featured a new Covid-19 Challenge to uncover solutions that help support businesses in adapting to the changes and challenges brought about by Covid-19.