Singapore’s MAS Launches S$1.75mn fintech challenge for a Covid-Resilient and Greener Financial Sector

By Staff Writer

Singapore’s de facto central bank has launched a unique fintech innovation programme – this time to fight two critical global challenges, the Covid-19 and the climate change, according to a statement.

The theme for the competition is “Building Resilience, Seizing Opportunities, Emerging Stronger”. Through the competition, MAS aims to promote FinTech solutions that will help financial institutions adapt effectively to the new operating environment precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as apply FinTech capabilities to spur the development of green finance in Asia and globally.

“The unique challenges posed by the health, economic, and climate crises which we are facing,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, MAS’ Chief Fintech Officer, “will inspire bold innovations and solutions.”

The program is planned to match established industry partners with innovative FinTech firms seeking more support for their ideas through the Hackcelerator programme, he said. “We strongly encourage all innovators to take part in this global competition and showcase their solutions to the world,” he added.

The competition comprises the revamped MAS FinTech Awards and the MAS Global FinTech Hackcelerator. It will be hosted entirely on the API Exchange (APIX), a cloud-based innovation platform, which will not only help to source for FinTech solutions for specific focus areas but also allow these solutions to be curated, contextualised, and validated.

This year, there will be two new award categories – ASEAN FinTech and Singapore Financial Institution – which will celebrate innovative projects from FinTechs in ASEAN and Singapore-based financial institutions respectively.  Interested parties can submit applications through APIX to demonstrate how their implemented projects have successfully enabled financial institutions to respond effectively to the pandemic or climate change.

In all, up to 12 winners will be selected to receive a total of S$1.2 million in prize money.

The program will publish high-priority problem statements collated from the finance industry in Singapore and globally. A record 107 problem statements were received this year, across four categories: (i) Responding to a global pandemic; (ii) Green finance solutions; (iii) Green finance enablers; and (iv) Sustainability.

FinTech solution providers from across the world are invited to submit their proprietary solutions to any of these problem statements.  The finalists will be mentored by industry experts to strengthen their proposals and to develop customised prototypes on APIX, which will provide them access to a development sandbox rich in data and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

The international programme comprises winners of FinTech competitions organized by international partners, including the Saudi G20 Presidency, the Bank for International Settlements Innovation Hub, Women’s World Banking, and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The winners of these partner competitions will be fast-tracked into the finals of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator.

Up to 20 finalists of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator will each receive a S$20,000 cash stipend for their preparations for the Hackcelerator Demo Day. From these finalists, up to three winners will be selected on Demo Day at the Singapore FinTech Festival, with each receiving S$50,000 in prize money.

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