Singapore Government invites applications for green fintechs

By Joanna England
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the drive at the launch of the 6th edition of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator...

The Singapore government has thrown its weight behind the development of green fintechs in its latest industry event, the Global FinTech Hackcelerator.

Called “Harnessing Technology to Power Green Finance” the competitive initiative which is supported by the US management consultancy, Oliver Wyman, seeks to unlock the potential of the fintech sector in advancing the development of green finance in Singapore and the wider region.

Innovation in green fintech

The Global FinTech Hackcelerator invites fintech companies and service providers worldwide to submit innovative solutions that address more than 50 ‘problem statements’ that have been gathered from financial institutions and green industry finance players. 

According to a statement from the MAS, the problem statements focus on three critical challenges: (i) Mobilising Capital; (ii) Monitoring Commitment; and (iii) Measuring Impact.

Fifteen finalists will be shortlisted for a virtual programme where they will be paired with a Corporate Champion to develop customised prototypes on the API Exchange (APIX) [2] . 

Finalists will also be given a S$20,000 cash stipend and be eligible for a fast-tracked application for the MAS Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme Proof-of-Concept Grant of up to S$200,000.

The final pitch of the solutions will happen on the event’s Demo Day, which is scheduled to take place at the 2021 Singapore FinTech Festival. Three winners will be selected from the competition, each one receiving a $50,000 cash prize.  

Finalists will pitch their solutions at the Demo Day held at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival.

Encouraging sustainable finance

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) has become a hot topic with governments globally as world powers attempt to reduce carbon emissions through advances in technology and new regulations. 

Industry leaders have called for a global framework for ESG investing as the sector faces a massive increase of opportunities but is currently inconsistent in their approach to sustainable investments.

According to reports, a major focus is on healthy ecosystems and sustainability of supply chains, a trend which is unlikely to slow down in the wake of he COVID-19 pandemic. 

Experts argue that a global regulatory framework for ESG investing would provide greater protections for those investors who are looking for profits with purpose and will also help to reduce ‘greenwashing’ – when an investment or company gives an inaccurate impression over its green, socially responsible, or corporate credentials.

Singapore and green fintechs

Singapore has long since delcared its aim to become one of the world's most developed fintech markets, and a leader in green fintech as part of the APAC nation's movement to become more sustainable. 

Currently, Singapore represents more than 40% of all fintech companies in the Southeast Asia region. It is also the ASEAN's biggest green finance hub, with an estimated 50% of all cumulative green bond and loan issuances.

Earlier this year, Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment of Singapore said, “Our vision is for Singapore to be a leading center for green finance in Asia and globally. Technology can play an instrumental role in greening finance, and supporting the development of trusted, efficient green finance markets. For instance, good, strong data, and the use of fintech, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to process, collect and analyze data, can inform decision making, and risk management practices.”

Singapore's 2021 Budget also outlined the Singapore Green Plan, while the nations sustainability drive has several ambitious aims regarding cleaner energy, green living, waste and consumption, green finance, and more.

Speaking about the initiative, Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS said that green fintech was an important enabler to accelerate Asia’s transition to a low carbon future. “It can provide much needed innovative solutions, and develop the crucial technology stack, which can help promote green financial services, catalyse efficient allocation of green capital, and facilitate trust in the green data value chain.” 

He added, “I encourage all innovators to make use of this platform and showcase their Green FinTech solutions to the world.”

Fintech companies and solution providers globally must submit their applications for the MAS Global FinTech Hackcelerator by 11 June 2021 to qualify. 

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