SBP Announces Ideathon for Tech-Based Fintech Startups

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has come up with its own Ideathon for fintech startups, aimed at promoting innovative ideas in the financial system to achieve the financial inclusion of the country’s economy at a faster pace.

The idea of holding an ideathon is a very encouraging sign, which should be followed by different regulatory authorities and public sector entities to promote technology-based initiatives in the country.

Technology-led startups and enthusiasts will participate in ‘SBP-Ideathon’ to share their innovative ideas for financial inclusion through digital financial services. Successful participants will be rewarded and mentored by banking and technology experts to help nurture the ideas.

Themes of Ideathon

SBP is organizing an Ideathon to seek innovative ideas or solutions from the public under the following themes:

  1. Increasing financial inclusion in youth and women.
  2. Enhancing adaptation of digital financial services by the less educated and technically illiterate segment of the population.
  3. Digitize informal saving mechanism.

The deadline to apply is March 10, 2019.

Interested applicants can apply by emailing at [email protected].

Event Details

The “Ideathon” will be a day-long event held in Karachi.

This ideathon is open to all technology-led startups, university-level students, fresh graduates, professionals, and individuals working in financial institutions. After initial screening of applications, SBP will shortlist 8-10 teams for the event day to make a final pitch before a panel of judges.

Mentoring, Coaching & Prize Money

Shortlisted teams will be assigned mentors who will be banking & technology experts, and help nurture ideas for final day event and pitch.

Final 5 teams will be given a cash reward of Rs. 300,000 each.

Successful teams for Ideathon may also be guided further and mentored to participate and avail SBPs Innovation Challenge Facility for Digital Financial Services.

Objectives of Ideathon

The goal of creating an inclusive financial system is challenging, but SBP aims to remain committed to championing it and increasing access of financial services for the underserved segments of the country and to help build a strong and prosperous Pakistan.

In pursuit of this objective, SBP has been driving ‘Financial Inclusion’ as a strategic goal through a three-pronged approach, which covers agile and innovative regulations, development of market information and infrastructure and capacity building of providers and clients.

SBP, in partnership with the government of Pakistan, launched a comprehensive National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2015, which lays down sound foundations and goals for financial inclusion until 2020. The stated vision for financial inclusion in Pakistan is “individuals and firms can access and use a range of quality payments, savings, credit and insurance services which meet their needs with dignity and fairness.” The strategy sets out the goal of reaching 50% adults with formal financial accounts, up from 16% in 2015.

Moreover, it aims to increase bank account ownership of adult women from 11% in 2015, to 25% by 2020, while gender is a cross-cutting theme for all sectors adopted under NFIS. The NFIS covers priority areas such as Branchless Banking (BB), Digital Payment Systems, Agri. & MSME Finance, Housing Finance, Islamic Finance, Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy, Insurance and Pensions etc.

For more details, head over the SBP Ideathon webpage.

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