Applications for the next phase of the Open Up Challenge are now open

The challenge will award a total prize value of £2.5 million

Nesta has opened up applications for the next Open Up Challenge, which will award the most innovative ideas in financial technology with a 2.5 million prize fund.

It invites applicants with a focus in three areas: Business Current Account (BCA), Credit, and New Frontiers, the latter being an open category encouraging those with ideas for next-generation technologies which benefit small businesses to come forward.

"Open banking is becoming a reality and we have already started to see fintechs build tools and services that will impact the way small businesses discover, access and use core financial products and services," Chris Gorst, challenge prize lead at Nesta said.

"The next phase of the Challenge builds on this by encouraging these innovators to develop solutions that will enable small businesses to better navigate the market and compare the products and services now available to them."

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Those who impress the independent judging panel will be awarded with grants of up to 100,000 each to develop their ideas and from those, an additional six will be selected to will the overall prize values of "at least 200,000" when the competition comes to an end in November.

The first phase of the challenge has already been completed, with twenty teams receiving a 50,000 development grant each. From those twenty teams, ten teams received a further 100,000. These participants can now apply for the second phase of the Open Up Challenge.

"It was evident from the first phase of the Challenge that there is an abundance of pent-up innovation ready to come to market and open banking has the potential to radically reduce the barriers for these new products to emerge. This is good news for small businesses," Gorst added.

 "The Challenge is open to everyone, not just previous winners, and we are genuinely excited to see what other solutions the prize unearths."

Applications for the second stage will close on 4th May, with the final prizes being awarded in November.

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