Open Finance Data: Innovation Challenge to support consumers in their later Financial Lives

FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry have once again joined forces to launch a UK Fintech innovation challenge which seeks to find innovative solutions that will support and strengthen products and services available to consumers to help better prepare for their later financial lives.

Successful applicants will be able to access an award of up to £50,000 to help develop their ideas and support taking them to market, to enable fintechs to maximise their contribution a small allocation of funding will be provided to participants in order to enable resources to be aligned to the challenge.

What's the challenge?

As life expectancy in the UK and around the world continues to increase, the number of people living into later life is growing rapidly. These factors have an impact on current and future cost of living, with an increased need to be financially secure for longer. There is a need for FinTech solutions to consider the future products and services that will help prepare people financially for a longer life.

A key recommendation of the Research and Innovation roadmap published by FinTech Scotland in 2022 was the opportunity to drive data led innovation to help long term financial planning. Building upon the existing Open Banking foundations, Open Finance offers exciting opportunities for the evolution of FinTech innovation. Expanding the scope of data available to innovators to cover savings, pensions, investments amongst other key data sets provides a catalyst to unlock new services and tailored propositions which can shape the future of data driven, fairer and more inclusive consumer outcomes.

With the support of NatWest Group, PwC, and Royal London this FinTech themed innovation call looks to attract creative and innovative ideas for data-led solutions to solve this multi-faceted challenge that will ultimately benefit consumers across the UK.

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Industry challenges & Use Cases

There are many areas for opportunity that this challenge could focus on, for example:
Within this theme there are multiple examples of where innovative propositions and enhanced use of data could support in this space.

Our industry partners have also offered up specific challenge statements within our overall theme. If you have a proposition that you feel fits within this theme but doesn’t align perfectly with a use case we would still like to hear from you.

Examples could include:

building greater incentives into future financial products

encouraging different behaviours from consumers from a young age to ensure consideration of their financial requirements as they mature to build financial resilience

the adoption of AI and other emerging technology to garner insights from data to support digital financial advice

Data as an enabler for innovation

A common barrier to innovation is the availability of relevant and quality data to test ideas, build rapid prototypes, and develop new products and services.  But this data can be hard to share due to privacy concerns and commercial sensitivities.

This innovation call will provide access to Smart Data Foundry’s state of the art synthetic datasets.  Using their aizle synthetic data engine, they have developed data assets that contains valuable properties and data attributes to help accelerate innovation.

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Support from industry

Partnering with NatWest, PwC and Royal London will unlock opportunities to engage with experts in the sector and will provide tremendous opportunities to learn from these organisations and leverage the power of their networks

“We are thrilled to partner with FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry on the Innovation call for Supporting Later Financial Lives. This growing customer segment spans life stages with varying product requirements, and we believe there are specific needs to be solved in this space. We look forward to working with innovators to understand how we can create the best solution for our customers.  The challenge aligns firmly with NatWest’s purpose to champion potential, helping people, families and businesses to thrive.”

Samantha Brand, Innovations & Partnerships at NatWest Group

“We are delighted to support this innovation challenge, which represents an exciting opportunity to harness the power of open finance data. The power of fintech can help consumers gain greater control over their financial futures, ultimately enabling them to make smarter decisions as they plan for later life. We are delighted to be working with FinTech Scotland and Smart Data Foundry to accelerate data driven innovation” 

Sarah Collins, Director PwC United Kingdom

What do previous participants have to say about the process?

“Integrating the synthetic data into our tools showed how this enriched data can provide businesses with the most up-to-date funding information, help them grow and scale and provide support through uncertain economic times”

James Gumble, CEO at Xpand

“We have gained invaluable insights throughout the competition and thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Smart Data Foundry, on this transformative journey. The knowledge we’ve acquired will be instrumental in enhancing our products and services, allowing us to continue delivering innovative solutions”

Makoto Fukuhara, CEO of Skwile Ltd


Whether you’re a small start up or a well-established enterprise we’d love to hear from fintechs that have creative solutions to help us tackle this challenge.

This challenge focuses on the use of Data so we are looking for ideas that are sufficiently mature to benefit from the use of the synthetic data assets to test and evolve the proposals.

To be eligible for the funding allocation for participating fintechs (£5k), companies must have fewer than 30 employees.

Read our Terms & Conditions

What you can expect

Stage one:  After the innovation call is launched on 30th of April, applications are welcomed ahead of an assessment panel in late May that will decide on which applicants have been successful for the second stage of the process.  The application window will close on the 26th of May

Stage two:  A small cohort of applicants will get the opportunity to participate in sessions across a number of weeks covering a number of topics, gaining knowledge and network opportunities.  Access to Smart Data Foundry’s synthetic dataset will be made available to this cohort, helping to unlock the power of business data to test ideas, build proofs of concept and develop solutions to the challenge.  An allocation of funding to allow FinTechs to maximise their contribution to the challenge will be provided.

More detailed information will be shared with the cohort of businesses regarding dates for these sessions will be provided following the selection of Fintechs

Stage three:  The final stage is the opportunity to pitch ideas and solutions to a panel made up from Smart Data Foundry, FinTech Scotland and Industry collaborators.  This event will take place on the 23rd of July.

How to apply?

To apply, complete the application form and include a brief video (under 5 minutes) introducing yourself and your business. Explain how your idea supports the challenge. If you need assistance, please refer to our FAQs here


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About Smart Data Foundry & FinTech Scotland

Smart Data Foundry is a mission-led organisation here to unlock the positive power of financial data to improve people’s lives. Bringing together companies, public bodies, charities and universities with a common goal – to use data in a safe & trusted way to deliver economical, societal and environmental benefits to everyone.

Bryn Coulthard, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Smart Data Foundry added

“Our continued partnership with FinTech Scotland in this innovation challenge underscores our commitment to empowering consumers with innovative, data-driven solutions. By leveraging the power of data, technology, and fintech expertise, we hope this challenge will help to revolutionise financial services, ensuring individuals can embark on their later years with confidence and security. Through initiatives like this, we’re envisioning the future and actively shaping it.”

FinTech Scotland brings together entrepreneurs, the established Financial sector, the public sector, consumer groups, technology and service firms and universities to develop and enable collaborative innovation across the fintech ecosystem.

Commenting on this initiative, Nicola Anderson, CEO at FinTech Scotland said:

“This new innovation call has the potential to significantly enhance the inclusivity and resilience in the financial services sector. We’re looking forward to receiving applications from data-led fintech businesses interested in creating better outcomes for consumers across the UK. Together with Smart Data Foundry we’re aiming at redefining the financial landscape, making it more accessible, secure, and suited to the needs of our rapidly evolving society”