Scottish FinTech awards launches
Written by Peter Walker
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), FWB Park Brown, Dell Technologies and the Times Scotland have partnered to launch a competition to identify and support the next generation of financial technology pioneers in Scotland.
With a prize fund totalling £125,000 on offer, the project aims to encourage and reward world-class ideas in FinTech innovation.
The PowerUp award is open to companies that have been trading for less than three years. Applicants should be at minimum viable product (MVP) stage onwards, and judging will be based on originality and innovation, as well as on validation and traction.
The winner of this category will receive a prize of £80,000, with £20,000 for the runner up and £10,000 for the third placed entry.
Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS, said: “Scotland has a lot to shout about when it comes to FinTech and it is important that people know about it and celebrate it.”
The Blue Sky award is aimed at early-stage financial technology businesses or individuals with new ideas. Open to pre-revenue companies trading for less than a year, entries will be judged on originality and innovation and on their potential market impact.
The winner of this category will receive a prize of £10,000, with £5,000 for the runner up. The third placed entry will appear in a special feature on the competition in The Times Scotland and will be offered a place in the Entrepreneur Accelerator programme.
Finalists will be asked to attend a dragons’ den-style pitching event at RBS headquarters at Gogarburn, Edinburgh, on 29 October.
Entries will be judged by a panel of experts chaired by Louise Smith, RBS’ head of digitisation, personal and business banking, with representatives from The Times Scotland, FWB Park Brown, Dell and Fintech Scotland.
Finalists will be asked to deliver a live, three-minute pitch of their idea or business to the panel, which also includes Gordon Merrylees, head of entrepreneurship at RBS; Greig Cameron, business editor at The Times Scotland; Adam Brown, director at FWB Park Brown; Steven Ingledew, head of Fintech Scotland; Craig Reid, a UK director at Dell Technologies; and Kate Richardson-Walsh, the Olympic gold medal winning former captain of the Great Britain women’s hockey team.
Separately, The University of Strathclyde has launched a FinTech Accelerator Programme, set to start in March next year.
Startups accepted into the accelerator will have access to a suite of support bespoke to the financial sector and an overall package of £10,000 in monetary and in-kind support.
The programme will be a pathway of the Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network’s existing Rising Stars programme and will encourage the development and growth of FinTech businesses.
The university has been at the forefront of the FinTech movement and in September 2017 launched the UK’s first FinTech Masters degree within the Strathclyde Business School.