Fintechs can win $60k by solving SME issues at an Innovation Challenge

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Fintech Abu Dhabi
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Winners of FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge can win up to $60,000 by providing innovative solutions for pertinent issues faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) and UAE-based international financial center Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) are inviting proposals from local and international FinTechs to take part in FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge’s 2020 edition.

One of the flagship initiatives of the annual FinTech Abu Dhabi event, The Innovation Challenge enlists innovative FinTech solutions that address specific challenges in the financial services sector with an effort to foster a diverse, sustainable and competitive economy.

The Innovation Challenge 2020, subject to a series of engagements and consultations with its Corporate Champions from the financial, corporate and government sectors, will focus on solutions to better serve the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) financing needs who are instrumental stakeholders in the UAE’s plans for economic transformation and diversification.

The Challenge also intends to increase the adoption of RegTech solutions to enhance regulatory processes and improve compliance outcomes

Successful FinTech applicants who are awarded a stipend of $20,000 will have to associate with a Corporate Champion and co-develop an innovative proof of concept (PoC) solution to a problem statement.

The Innovation Challenge’s Corporate Champions include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Etihad Credit Insurance and Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank. Successful PoCs will be presented at MENA’s largest FinTech Festival, FinTech Abu Dhabi 2020, jointly held by the CBUAE and ADGM from 24-26 November 2020.

An additional funding grant of up to $40,000 will be provided to assist further developments of the PoC solutions after the Challenge. The grant funding will fast-track the deployment of the PoC solutions within the industry to improve SME financing and regulatory outcomes in the UAE.

Applications will be assessed against the key criteria of how well the solution addresses the problem statement, scalability of the solution, maturity and how the solution could be deployed in the UAE. Applications are expected to be submitted before 1 August 2020.

The finalists and their respective Corporate Champions will showcase and develop the PoC solutions on ADGM’s Digital Lab, a digital sandbox and marketplace which facilitates open collaboration and innovation by bringing FinTechs, financial institutions and regulators together to drive digital transformation.

Dr. Sabri Al Azazi, Chief Operating Officer of the Central Bank of the UAE
Dr. Sabri Al Azazi, COO – CBUAE

“We are pleased to see banks actively participating in FinTech development and working closely with tech-firms to explore and identify innovative solutions to improve their customer experience and to address continuous challenges. The Innovation Challenge co-launched by CBUAE and ADGM comes at the most opportune timing and provides a unique platform to facilitate collaboration between banks and tech-firms to conduct more timely live tests under a controlled environment before the formal launch. Through the Digital Lab and the regulatory guidance provided by the CBUAE and ADGM, banks and tech-firms are able to gather real-life or close-to-real-life data to simulate the production environment and user feedback on their new FinTech products and services.”

On his account, Mr. Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM, said: “The FSRA is excited to co-launch the Innovation Challenge with the CBUAE through the ADGM Digital Lab to overcome the pain points faced by the financial services sector in the UAE and the wider region. The problem statements reflect the imperatives brought about by the current pandemic, which has accelerated the need to strengthen financing mechanisms for SMEs and digital onboarding. A first-in-the-world infrastructure offered by a financial regulator, the ADGM Digital Lab represents the next generation of regulatory sandboxes built on platforms. We welcome financial institutions and FinTechs to make use of the Digital Lab as a trusted marketplace to imagine experiments and bring about the future of financial services.”