In order to find and support innovative fintech solutions in the country that can promote Digital Financial Services (DFS) by creating an enabling environment and ecosystem the State Bank of Pakistan is launching an Innovation Challenge Facility.
The Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) is to be held at NFIS Secretariat at the State Bank of Pakistan after the initial evaluation; the shortlisted proposals will then be presented to Evaluation Committee which draws representation from SBP, PTA, DFID and private sector.
Through this facility financial service providers, financial technology providers and institutions with a digital solution will be issued grants to develop new or expand existing financial products, services and delivery platforms that will increase financial access for people living at the bottom of the income pyramid.
Overall, the goal of the facility is to allow market players to develop innovative solutions for Pakistani consumers and enterprises for increasing access and usage of financial services within the existing infrastructure of Asaan Mobile Account (AMA).
The objective of the Innovation Challenge Facility is to provide an opportunity to financial institutions and non-financial players to experiment with innovative digital financial products or services in the production environment but within a well-defined space and duration.
The facility is to focus on Transactional Banking, Payment Solutions, Government to Person (G2P) and Person to Government (P2G) Payments, Development and Integration with third party service providers, ecommerce, interoperability, digital lending, supply chain digitization, digitization of microfinance institution payments, digitization of international remittance, RegTech solutions, etc. However, it has been reported that the first batch of proposals will focus on adoption and up-scaling of Asaan Mobile Account (AMA) Scheme.
The eligibility criterion for the ICF is that the proposals need to be submitted to the NFIS secretariat. Upon a thorough desk review and detailed consultation with applicants, NFIS Secretariat will present proposals to the Evaluation Committee. The Committee, after analyzing the proposal, its deliverables, impact, and operational readiness will award approval along with financial assistance to pilot test the innovation.
Further guidelines for the Innovation Challenge Facility can be viewed here.