Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
6:10 PM 10th September 2019

National Challenge Searches For Fintech Talent In Leeds

Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Nesta Challenges is calling for fintechs in Leeds to create open banking-enabled solutions that help people better manage their money as new research reveals almost a quarter (23%) of people in Leeds regularly run out of money every month while 17% spend their pay cheque as soon as they get it. More than four in ten (43%) say they want to feel more in control of their finances.

A recent report highlighted significant growth potential for fintech in Leeds, with around 5% of the total financial sector - 2,600 people - currently working in fintech1.

Leeds fintechs are being invited to apply for the Open Up 2020 Challenge – a ground-breaking challenge prize from Nesta Challenges in partnership with Open Banking Limited to help people make more of their money. The £1.5m prize fund aims to stimulate the development of open banking-enabled products and solutions that help people better manage their finances by attracting entries from across the UK.

The research also found that 28% of Leeds residents want more help in budgeting with one in three (29%) admitting that they’re not good at money management. Three in ten (31%) would like to use apps and tools – such as those enabled by open banking – to help them manage their money.

Recognised for its fintech potential and as a city of innovation, Nesta Challenges expects a strong level of entries to Open Up 2020 from Leeds-based fintech companies. On the 18 September at the FinTech North event at KPMG’s offices, Nesta Challenges will be talking about how the region’s fintech innovators can enter the Challenge before entries close on 2 October and the team will also be available at Avenue HQ from 12-6pm to provide one-to-one advice on the application process.

Successful applicants will each receive up to £300k in prize money as well as support in promoting their products in a national digital marketing awareness campaign, and expert non-financial help to help accelerate product development and user adoption.

Chris Gorst, Head of Better Markets at Nesta Challenges said: “Open Up 2020 not only provides innovative fintech companies in Leeds with the chance to develop pioneering financial products enabled by open banking, but it also has the potential to significantly change the lives of thousands across Leeds and the UK by helping them to improve their financial management.

“As a major UK economy, Leeds is an economic powerhouse employing large numbers of people in fintech and financial services. We therefore expect a strong level of entries from the Leeds area, and we look forward to sharing information with the region’s fintech innovators on how they can enter the challenge prize at the FinTech North event on the 18th September.”

Julian Wells, Director of FinTech North, said: “The national FinTech economy is fast evolving and regional ecosystems are forming around the major cities. It is great to see Nesta taking such proactive steps to promote this Challenge to FinTechs in the north and we’re delighted to be working in partnership with them to encourage northern firms to apply."

This challenge prize follows the first Open Up Challenge, a prize fund which ran from 2016 to 2018 backing the next generation of open banking enabled products and apps for small businesses. Two winners of Open Up 2018 (Fluidly and Funding Options) have raised £5m+ investment rounds, three winners (Swoop, Funding Options and Fluidly) have been awarded £5m each as part of the RBS Alternative Remedies Package, and all six have announced significant user traction milestones.

To book a face-to-face appointment with the Open Up 2020 team in Leeds on the 18 September, or to find out more information, please contact