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Nesta to bring £5m ‘Open Up Challenge’ prize to Leeds

FinTech North and Nesta, the innovation foundation, have announced that the recently launched ‘Open Up Challenge’ for FinTech entrepreneurs will be showcased during Leeds Digital Festival on 26th April 2017.

In February, Nesta launched the Open Up Challenge, a new £5m prize fund to inspire the creation of next-generation services, apps and tools designed for the UK’s 5 million small businesses. Over the next 18 months, the Open Up Challenge is looking for 20 winning entries from anywhere in the world that will use Open Banking Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to transform the way small businesses discover, access and use core financial products.

Chris Gorst, Challenge Prize Lead at Nesta, commented: “Open banking has the potential to transform small business banking, leading to a step change in innovation and offering busy entrepreneurs unprecedented transparency, convenience and control. The Open Up Challenge aims to make this a reality, by supporting tech businesses building next generation services centred around small businesses’ needs.”

Applications are open from 23 March until 31 May 2017 and entrants will have the potential to receive:

  • Cash awards – a £50k grant up-front each and a share of a further £3.5m if successful during the challenge;
  • Exclusive access to the Open Up Data Sandbox containing the largest anonymised UK banking transaction dataset ever made available;
  • Fully funded technical and business support provided by leading practitioners, ranging from user experience to specialized legal and regulatory guidance.

The Open Up Challenge, which is managed by Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, is part of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) package of retail banking reforms and aims to transform the way small businesses manage their finances.

FinTech North 2017 is organised by Leeds-based Whitecap Consulting, White Label Crowdfunding and FiNexus and will be hosted on the 26th April 2017 at aql in Leeds. The event will be chaired by Dr Chris Sier, the Treasury’s FinTech Envoy for the North of England, and 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, BJSS, Computershare, Munroe K, Nostrum Group, Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Manchester Metropolitan University, and VocaLink.

You can read more details about FinTech North here, or alternatively register here.


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