INNOVATION charity Nesta is seeking fintech firms for the the next phase of its Open Up Challenge.
The £2.5m prize aims to find ideas that will promote competition and services for UK small businesses, making it easier for them to access finance.
Fintech firms from around the world, including peer-to-peer lenders, can apply for one of three prize tracks.
One seeks solutions to help small businesses shop around for current accounts, another wants ideas on helping firms find unsecured loans of less than £25,000 and the third calls for ideas to strengthen competition for financial products.
The challenge opens for applications today and talented start-ups or established companies have until 4 May to apply.
At the end of June, an independent judging panel will award grants of £100,000 to ten to twelve finalists to develop their products, with five or six of those teams winning prize awards of at least £200,000 in November.
P2P lenders Growth Street and Investly took part in the first Open Up Challenge, launched last year, which sought solutions to help firms access Open Banking.
“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.
“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.
“The Challenge is open to everyone, not just previous winners, and we are genuinely excited to see what other solutions the prize unearths.”