Finance For All: Innovate Finance Partners with RBS, Deloitte and Founders of the Future to host Financial Inclusion Hackathon in Scotland

All across the UK, you can find banks and ATMs on every corner – they are an intrinsic part of the urban landscape. It certainly gives the impression that a trip to the local branch is a part of everyday life for us all. 

Well, think again. There are currently 1.5 million adults in the UK who are unbanked, according to the Financial Inclusion Commission.

Despite banking being easier than ever, and digital-services beginning to dominate the industry, this is a huge problem we face as a society. To that end, Innovate Finance partnered with RBS, Deloitte and Founders of the Future, and last month delivered a 48-hour Hackathon competition at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s global headquarters in Edinburgh.

The initiative was developed to find workable solutions and help bank the unbanked.  Through a tremendous group effort, we gathered 100 people to identify problems, talk to potential users, and build minimum viable products (MVPs).

The problems addressed included customer eligibility, digital exclusion, credit exclusion and accessibility. All the ideas came to the fore in the culmination of the weekend, when participants pitched their ideas to a panel of expert judges.

We were delighted to welcome a first-class panel of James Varga, CEO of The ID Co; Alison Rose, Deputy CEO of NatWest Holdings and CEO of Commercial & Private Banking; Louise Brett, FinTech Senior Partner UK & North West Europe at Deloitte; and our very own, Charlotte Crosswell.

The competition was won by two start-ups who are developing solutions for the rising challenges in the digital age. I Promise, a start-up focused on building greater credit score strength, and Sifar, which focuses on empowering the next generation and enriching their financial literacy, went home with the top prize.

Other notable participants included ‘SIM’pler Money – a company aiming to better people’s understand of digital apps and services, and Crane – lifting the stress of debt by making it easier for people moving from flexible to fixed payments to obtain credit. 

 The initiative was developed with the aim to boost awareness of the unbanked, and the powerful force FinTech can be for tackling societal issues.

“FinTech has the potential to transform the experience of consumers across the UK, particularly those who struggle to access conventional banking services.  I’m pleased that Innovate Finance, RBS and Founders of the Future have focused on addressing the needs of these unbanked and underserved consumers in this hackathon, and hope that it leads to the development of new products and services that have a positive impact on citizens’ lives.” said John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury.

This kind of ministerial interest is great to see, especially considering the government has already shown their willingness to use financial technology to address financial inclusion issues in the Rent Recognition and Affordable Credit challenges.

At Innovate Finance we were proud to be part of an event which demonstrated the promising initiatives that are spearheading the development of FinTech technology to make a difference in society. 

Commenting on the event, our CEO Charlotte Crosswell said, “FinTech enables the development of solutions that could build a better financial future for all. It was a pleasure to see teams build workable solutions for some of the most challenging problems facing consumers and businesses today. The potential for technology to advance financial inclusion in modern society is a game changer, and it was a privilege to shine a light on creative ideas in this space.”

Pierre-Simon Ntiruhungwa, Co-founder and Head of Founders of the Future added “It is core to our mission to nurture the next generation of founders and make sure they work on solving the World’s most pressing problems. Therefore, we were so delighted to see so many motivated and passionate individuals spending their entire weekend working on the Financial Inclusion issue by finding solutions to bank the unbanked all while developing their entrepreneurial skills and making great new connections.”