Chris Gorst, Nesta

Chris Gorst, Nesta

UK-based innovation foundation Nesta has launched its “Open Up Challenge” as it looks for services, apps and tools for SMEs. The competition is now open for entries.

A £5 million prize fund is on offer and it is looking for 20 entries from anywhere in the world that will use open banking APIs – “newly available from early 2018”.

Chris Gorst, Open Up Challenge prize lead at Nesta, says: “Open banking has the potential to transform small business banking, leading to a step change in innovation and offering busy customers unprecedented transparency, convenience and control.”

Ideas to help small businesses, according to Nesta, could include comparing loan offers; analysing transaction history; moving money around automatically; and help with predictions and cash flows.

Winners will receive:

  • Cash awards – a £50,000 grant up-front each and a share of a further £3.5 million if successful during the challenge;
  • Exclusive access to the “Open Up Data Sandbox” containing one of the “largest anonymised UK banking transaction datasets ever made available”;
  • Fully funded technical and business support, ranging from user experience to legal and regulatory guidance.

Nesta says the challenge is part of a package of retail banking reforms which are recommended by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The challenge is open to developer teams, start-ups, or established companies from anywhere in the world whose concept may be at idea stage or could be more advanced. Applications are now open! The closing date is 31 May 2017. More information is here.