Innovation foundation Nesta is launching a £2.8m challenge to find fintech solutions that will help workers struggling financially due to Covid-19.
Fintechs could win up to £475,000 each by applying to the 12-month “Rapid Recovery Challenge”, which is being launched in partnership with the Money and Pensions Service and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation.
The winners will be those that identify the most promising solutions and have the greatest potential in helping people access financial assistance more easily, manage their cashflow or access affordable credit.
The challenge follows research from Nesta which found that workers in certain sectors, such as those in low paid work or on temporary contracts, are worse off due to the recession.
They are twice as likely to be working fewer hours compared to people in more stable work (26 per cent compared to 13 per cent) and nearly a third (32 per cent) believe a second lockdown would send them over the edge financially.
“Covid-19 has created a huge economic shock,” said Ravi Gurumurthy, chief executive of Nesta.
“Millions face severe threats to their job security and household finances, and we know that low-paid workers, people in insecure roles and those under 25 will be hit hardest.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the range of solutions innovators develop to address these issues and support those whose jobs and finances have been most impacted by the pandemic.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the money worries many people face, but particularly for young people and workers on lower incomes,” said Caroline Siarkiewicz, chief executive of the Money and Pensions Service.
“It’s vital that those that are worst hit can now access the right support and start to find a way forward with their finances.
“We’re pleased to help fund this initiative, which supports the decade-long goals set out in our UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing to enable everyone – including those in vulnerable circumstances – to make the most of their money and pensions.”
Entries are now open, closing on 26 October 2020. Two winning projects will be announced at the end of the programme in September 2021.
Solutions submitted to the Rapid Recovery Challenge must already exist, at least in prototype form, and must have been piloted with at least 1,000 users.