The FCA has opened the application window for its Green Fintech Challenge 2021. This is the second time the FCA has run the Green Fintech Challenge following its previous pilot in 2018, designed to support development and live market testing of new products and services that will aid the transition to a net zero economy.

The FCA is looking for start-ups, incumbents and technology providers that meet its eligibility criteria that are developing innovative green solutions that require regulatory support to get to market, particularly in the space of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data and disclosure. This includes products and services that:

  • enable transparency in disclosure and reporting on sustainability by companies along the investment chain; and
  • help consumers better understand the ESG characteristics of relevant products and providers they engage with, as well as provide visibility around alternatives aligned with their needs and preferences.

Eligibility

Applicants are assessed against the following criteria:

  • Are you looking to deliver innovation to aid the transition to a net zero economy (“in scope”)?
  • Is your innovation new or a significantly different offering in the marketplace (“genuine innovation”)?
  • Does the innovation offer a good prospect of identifiable benefit to consumers (either directly or through greater competition) (“consumer benefit”)?
  • Does your business have a genuine need for Innovate services (i.e. Direct Support, Advice Unit, the regulatory sandbox) (“need for support”)?

The FCA makes clear that the Green FinTech Challenge does not replace its existing Innovate services and firms developing propositions that do not fall within the scope of the Green FinTech Challenge can still apply directly to Direct Support, the Advice Unit or the regulatory sandbox.

In terms of benefits to successful applicants, the FCA outlines that firms will receive a package of its firm support services as well as bespoke support and engagement e.g. taking part in showcasing and networking events.

The deadline for applications is 6 December 2021 and successful applicants will be notified in early 2022.

"Financial services and markets have an important role to play in the transition to a more sustainable future. The pressure is also increasing on business to be more purposeful and responsible." The Financial Conduct Authority