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UK Startups Can Win Up to £50,000 in FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry Innovation Challenge

A UK fintech innovation challenge, in collaboration with some of the leading UK banks, has been launched by FinTech Scotland, the not-for-profit cluster body, and Smart Data Foundry, the open finance platform. 

This innovation challenge seeks to find innovative solutions that will support and strengthen the relationships between financial institutions and their SME clients. Successful applicants will be able to access a prize of up to £50,000. This will help develop their ideas and support taking them to market.

This challenge offers a unique opportunity for participants to present their ideas to industry leaders, as well as engage with experts in data, technology, and fintech. This exposure will allow innovators to gain valuable insights, receive expert guidance, and enter potential collaborations. All of these opportunities maximise the chances of success for their projects.

Refining and ensuring effective solution development

One of the key features of this challenge is the provision of SME synthetic data by Smart Data Foundry. It will enable fintechs to thoroughly test and refine their innovations. Therefore, it will ensure the development of robust and effective solutions that address the real needs of small businesses.

Thanks to the support from the Strength in Places UK Research and Innovation Grant, substantial funding will be offered to promising projects arising from the challenge. This funding will provide the necessary resources for entrepreneurs and innovators to develop and implement their ideas. In turn, this will support small businesses, in addition to sustainable growth and prosperity.

This challenge aims to provide essential support to address the strategic and operational needs of small businesses in Scotland and the UK in a post-covid business environment.

Banks hold vast amounts of data about their SME clients. Unlocking the power of this data can help small businesses to become even more resilient and promote financial well-being. This allows them to flourish, grow and achieve sustainable and successful commercial futures.

Supported by NatWest Group and Virgin Money, this fintech-themed innovation call looks to attract creative and innovative ideas. Specifically, data-led solutions to solve the multi-faceted challenge that will ultimately benefit SMEs across the UK.

Driving innovation in a post-covid environment
Nicola Anderson, CEO, FinTech Scotland
Nicola Anderson, CEO, FinTech Scotland

This follows recommendations laid out in the Research and Innovation roadmap published by FinTech Scotland in March 2022. Commenting on the new initiative, Nicola Anderson, CEO at FinTech Scotland said: “The challenge presents a tremendous opportunity to support small businesses and drive innovation in the post-covid business environment.

“By collaborating with industry leaders and leveraging synthetic data assets, we aim to empower entrepreneurs. We want to help them develop ground-breaking solutions that will address the strategic needs of SMEs. Lastly, we encourage innovators to join us on this exciting journey as we shape the future of the fintech landscape in Scotland and the UK.”

Bryn Coulthard, chief product and technology officer at Smart Data Foundry
Bryn Coulthard, chief product and technology officer at Smart Data Foundry

Bryn Coulthard, chief product and technology officer at Smart Data Foundry added: “One of our core missions is to use data to inspire and accelerate financial innovation.  The combination of funding from UKRI’s Strength in Places Grant together with the unique SME synthetic data that we have made available for this initiative creates the ideal environment for fintechs to embrace this challenge and to get involved.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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