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OPEN UP CHALLENGE: THE TEN FINTECHS THAT COULD SHAPE THE FUTURE OF SMALL BUSINESS BANKING

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OPEN UP CHALLENGE: THE TEN FINTECHS THAT COULD SHAPE THE FUTURE OF SMALL BUSINESS BANKING

Nesta, the innovation foundation, has today announced the ten organisations* selected as prize winners at the conclusion of Stage 1 of the Open Up Challenge.

The Open Up Challenge is a £5m prize fund to inspire the creation of next-generation services, apps and tools designed for the UK’s 5 million small businesses. It was announced by Nesta in February in a global search for organisations seeking to use new open banking technology to transform the way small businesses discover, access and use financial services.

The Challenge builds on the UK’s leading position in open banking, fintech, digital technology and social innovation.

The ten teams, who were selected by an independent judging panel, each receive a £100,000 cash award for developing products assessed as most likely to have a positive impact on UK small businesses in 2018 and beyond. The teams represent a mix of established and early stage fintechs adopting data-driven approaches to solving real problems faced by small businesses – including automating burdensome processes, making access to finance radically simpler, democratising financial advice, and increasing choice and transparency in financial services.

Twenty teams have participated in Stage 1 of the Open Up Challenge, each receiving a £50,000 development grant and exclusive access to the Open Up Data Sandbox, containing one of the largest anonymised UK banking transaction datasets ever made available for open innovation. The participants have accessed expert support provided by leading practitioners – covering legal and regulatory considerations, user experience and investment readiness – to help them prepare for the launch of open banking in 2018.

Nesta is a pioneer in the use of challenge prizes to accelerate innovation for public good. The Open Up Challenge brings this model to accelerate data-driven innovation for small businesses, building on Nesta’s extensive experience at the cutting edge of innovative finance, technology and data.

Chris Gorst, Challenge Prize Lead at Nesta,commented:

“We would like to congratulate all the teams that participated so far in the Open Up Challenge. 

“The ten teams awarded a prize in Stage 1 demonstrated to the judging panel that they are using new technologies to solve real small business problems and have the potential to achieve impact at scale in 2018 and beyond. 

“Useful innovation has been slow to come in small business banking, imposing real costs on the entrepreneurial economy and hitting small business productivity. But the UK is perfectly placed to make rapid progress, as a global leader in fintech and open data innovation. Open banking could radically reduce barriers for new players and models to emerge and this is good news for small businesses. 

“The quality of propositions emerging from the Challenge demonstrates that there is a groundswell of pent-up innovation ready to come to market. We are excited to be deploying Nesta’s expertise in challenge prizes to accelerate innovation in this vital area for the UK economy.”

Charlotte Crosswell, CEO, Innovate Finance, said:

“We would like to congratulate all the finalists of this important challenge, and delighted to see so many of our members in the final list. Together these companies represent the blueprint for the future of finance and what open banking can do to help small businesses deliver better services to consumers.” 

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: 

“Access to affordable finance is crucial if the UK’s ambitious entrepreneurs are to be able to invest, grow and enrich the economy. 

“The Nesta Open Up Challenge is an innovative and exciting way of stimulating and supporting fresh ideas to help small businesses harness the benefits of open banking. 

“These new digital tools have the potential to save small firms both time and money, helping them to find much more easily a greater choice and quality of financial products.”

Applications for Stage 2 will open in early 2018. To receive updates, please sign-up here.

The Open Up Challenge is part of a package of reforms to retail banking from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The Challenge is managed by Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, which delivers innovation through Challenge Prizes including the Longitude Prize and the Inclusive Technology Prize.

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Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support – The Sunday Times

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Sunak to raise business tax to pay for COVID-19 support - The Sunday Times 1

(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to increase a tax on business to pay for an extension to COVID-19 support schemes in the budget next month, The Sunday Times reported https://bit.ly/3ujaBcU.

Sunak, in his speech on March 3, will announce he is increasing corporation tax from 19 pence in the pound and will outline a pathway where it rises to 23 pence in the pound by the time of the next general election, the report said. The move will raise an expected 12 billion pounds ($16.8 billion) a year, the report added.

According to the report, at least 1 pence is set to be added to the bill for business from this autumn, at a cost to business of 3 billion pounds, with further rises in subsequent years.

Allies of Sunak clarified he would not increase corporation tax higher than 23%.

These measures will be helpful in paying for an extension to the furlough scheme, VAT cuts and business support loans until at least August.

Unlike the 2010 Conservative-led government, which pursued spending cuts to rebalance the economy after the global financial crisis, Sunak is expected to defer most of the toughest decisions about how to pay for that support in his budget speech.

“The corporation tax hike will be higher than expected and the extension of the support schemes will be longer than most people expect,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Insiders indicated the stamp duty holiday on property purchases would also be extended in line with the other coronavirus support measures, the report said.

Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.

($1 = 0.7136 pounds)

 

(Reporting by Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

 

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Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

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Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 2

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients will face only “limited impact” from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

“Since most of the customers we serve are large customers, they all have proper precautionary planning,” said Liu Young-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd

“Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there, but limited,” he told reporters.

Liu said he expected the company to do well in the first half of 2021, “especially as the pandemic is easing and demand is still being sustained.”

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand for laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This caused chip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from the automotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.

Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut output as chip capacity has shrunk.

Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to the smartphone sector, with application processors, display driver chips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.

However, the research firm predicts Apple will face a minimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers’ tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn’s largest customer.

Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including in electric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV development platform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.

He expected it would have two or three models to show by the fourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obvious contribution to company earnings until 2023.

Liu also said the company was still looking for semiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia after not winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inch foundry house Silterra.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

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EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 3

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight against climate change and agree on a new framework for the digital market, limiting the power of big tech companies, European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen said.

“I am sure: A shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” the president of the European Commission said in a speech at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: a set of rules based on our values, human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy.”

The EU has pledged to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, while President Joe Biden has committed the United States to become a “net zero economy” by 2050.

Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The hope is that a transatlantic alliance could help persuade large emitters who have yet to commit to this timeline – including China, which is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, and India.

“The United States is our natural partner for global leadership on climate change,” von der Leyen said.

She called the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a turning point for the discussion on the impact social media has on democracies.

“Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of big tech companies alone will not stop political violence,” von der Leyen said. “But it is an important step.”

She was referring to a draft set of rules unveiled in December which aims to rein in tech companies that control troves of data and online platforms relied on by thousands of companies and millions of Europeans for work and social interactions.

They show the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet Inc’s Google, which critics say have not addressed the problem.

But they also risk inflaming tensions with Washington, already irked by Brussels’ attempts to tax U.S. tech firms more.

Von der Leyen said Facebook’s decision on a news blackout on Thursday in response to a forthcoming Australian law requiring it and Google to share revenue from news underscored the importance of a global approach to dealing with tech giants.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott and Nick Macfie; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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