FinTech Scotland is joining forces with the Smart Data Foundry to launch an innovation challenge with some of the leading UK banks.

The cluster management organisation for Scottish ‘fintech’ will work with the Edinburgh University-owned data innovation agency to support the development of new solutions.

The challenge will specifically be focused on finding innovative solutions that will support and strengthen the relationships between financial institutions and their SME clients.

Successful applicants will be able to access a prize of up to £50,000 to help develop their ideas and support taking them to market.

The challenge, supported by NatWest and Virgin Money, will allow participants to present their ideas to industry leaders, as well as engage with experts in data, technology, and fintech.

This exposure will allow innovators to gain valuable insights, receive expert guidance, and enter potential collaborations, maximising the chances of success for their projects.

One of the key features of this challenge is the provision of SME synthetic data by Smart Data Foundry. Synthetic data is artificially generated data about people, entities and events that imitates real-world data. It will enable FinTechs to thoroughly test and refine their innovations, ensuring the development of robust and effective solutions that address the real needs of small businesses.

A Strength in Places UK Research and Innovation Grant will provide “substantial funding” to promising projects arising from the challenge.

Nicola Anderson, CEO at FinTech Scotland, said:”We are thrilled to launch the FinTech Scotland Innovation challenge, which presents a tremendous opportunity to support small businesses and drive innovation in the post-Covid business environment.

“By collaborating with industry leaders and leveraging synthetic data assets, we aim to empower entrepreneurs to develop ground-breaking solutions that will address the strategic needs of SMEs. We encourage innovators to join us on this exciting journey as we shape the future of the fintech landscape in Scotland and the UK.”

Bryn Coulthard, chief product and technology officer at Smart Data Foundry, added: “One of our core missions is to use data to inspire and accelerate financial innovation. The combination of funding from UKRI’s Strength in Places Grant together with the unique SME synthetic data that we have made available for this initiative creates the ideal environment for fintechs to embrace this challenge and to get involved.”