Budding Southland entrepreneurs have the chance to take part in a national programme designed to solve challenges in the financial technology (Fintech) sector. Applications have opened for the 2019 Kiwi Fintech Accelerator programme, which helped boost the success of some of New Zealand’s top fintech start-ups, including Sharesies, Hnry and Choice.
Now in its third year, the Kiwi Fintech Accelerator was established to provide New Zealand fintech start-ups with pathways and access to global markets. The programme, jointly delivered with Creative HQ, runs for 12 weeks and sees teams work intensively with expert support to innovate, build, launch and expand their business.
SBS Bank is supporting the programme and is looking for a Southland team to take part, based in Invercargill. Invercargill-based tech specialists Digital Stock will provide mentoring support as the team develops their business.
SBS Bank digital channel manager Andrew Rushton said it could be challenging for people to move to Wellington for three months to develop their idea, so creating an environment for them to stay in Southland made perfect sense.
“SBS Bank is a small but nimble bank and we think it’s fitting to host the first Southland-based Kiwi Fintech Accelerator. We know it takes a community to develop, collaborate and scale together, which is why we have partnered with Kiwibank on this venture,” he said.
“We’re looking for a start-up venture working in areas such as payments, financial literacy, security, insurance, identity regulations, lending, investing, or asset management. They may be using technologies such as Blockchain, AI, machine learning and bots to bring their solution to life.”
Previous ventures have created great products and through the accelerator programme were able to network and raise funds to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses, he said.
A Fintech Boot Camp will be held on May 10-12 in Invercargill to give those interested an opportunity to work on their ideas and pitch the project to a panel. At least one team will be selected from that event to take part in the Accelerator while based in Invercargill.
“This is a really exciting opportunity. SBS Bank will support the successful group with getting to Wellington to work with the wider Fintech Accelerator programme but the rest of the time they can continue to work on it in Invercargill with Digital Stock’s support,” Rushton said.
Digital Stock chief executive Nash Varghese said the programme offered those keen to develop a fintech solution a rare chance to develop something special.
“We think that it’s a real opportunity for someone to develop a really good idea that can make a difference in the fintech world and we can’t wait to see what emerges out of Southland innovators.”
The Fintech sector in New Zealand is accelerating at a rate more than 10 per cent faster than the global average, according to insight from Fintech New Zealand. In 2018, growth in New Zealand fintech rose to 48.5 per cent, compared to the global average of 31 per cent.
For more information on the 2019 Kiwi FinTech Accelerator, related events, visit: nzfintech.kiwi