Manama, Bahrain – 26 April 2021: The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) announced today the launch of a series of nation-wide fintech innovation challenges, the Bahrain Supernova. The challenges will be hosted on FinHub 973, CBB’s Digital Lab, which is powered by Fintech Galaxy’s FinX22 Open API platform. The challenges will be aimed at furthering the development of the fintech industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain within CBB’s digital strategy to boost collaboration and integration between financial institutions and startups utilizing open API’s.
The Bahrain Supernova will see some of the financial institutions in Bahrain presenting real market challenges aimed at finding customer-centric solutions. Innovators and fintech startups will have access to an API sandbox with +330 APIs and simulated data sets from local and regional banks to enable rapid and seamless proof of concepts (PoCs). Addressing these issues in the post COVID-19 recovery phase will be critical as this will enable the financial services industry in Bahrain to break through silos, transform legacy banking systems, and enable the development of new solutions across fintech, regtech and insuretech.
Innovative startups and tech firms from the Kingdom of Bahrain and the region will be able to submit their proposals via the FinHub 973 digital platform, addressing problem statements under the following themes:
- Central Bank of Bahrain – RegTech Solution: Account Blocking & Unblocking Automation Process
- Bank ABC – Autonomous Finance
- The BENEFIT Company – Extending Payment Services for Proximity/Wearables Devices
- ila Bank – Banking, User Experience & AI
- National Bank of Bahrain – Connecting Customer Accounting system with NBB for Banking needs
Following the submission deadline on May 20th 2021, proposals meeting the requirements will be shortlisted and innovators will be invited to pitch their solutions to a panel of experts. A judging panel comprising of executives from each of the financial institutions, along with subject matter experts will then announce finalists on June 3rd 2021 and the challenge will end on June 10th 2021.
Commenting on the launch of the challenge, Yasmeen Al Sharaf, Head of Fintech & Innovation Unit at the Central Bank of Bahrain, said: “We are pleased to announce the commencement of Bahrain Supernova on our digital lab, FinHub 973. The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the introduction of technological changes and advancements in every aspect of our lives. And with the increase in technological adoption comes the need to develop financial services in line with customer needs as the work environment is changing.”
Al Sharaf added: “There is no doubt that the latest technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud services are impacting economies around the world at an unprecedented pace. And we are very excited to see how Bahrain Supernova will help leverage these technologies, while enhancing the fintech industry in Bahrain, and further accelerating our transformation towards an AI-powered digital economy. This initiative reaffirms the vision of the Central Bank of Bahrain to expand infrastructure in financial technology, unlock innovation opportunities, and introduce new and innovative financial products to the market.”
Mirna Sleiman, Founder & CEO, Fintech Galaxy, said: “We are proud to take part in the CBB’s Bahrain Supernova, and we are confident that this initiative will succeed in helping forge partnerships, creating alliances, and bringing financial inclusion to the market.
The launch of this challenge comes at a critical time, when governments and financial institutions from all around the world are focusing on transitioning from Open Banking to ‘Open Finance’. We at Fintech Galaxy, have interacted with more than 1000 cutting edge fintechs from around the world, many of whom have successfully designed apps and delivered proof of concepts (PoCs) that eliminate customer pain points for financial institutions across the industry. However, it’s time to get over our fascination with Open Banking and look towards the future of financial services as a whole; and without a doubt, that future is Open Finance.”
The Bahrain Supernova will be virtually hosted on the CBB’s digital lab, FinHub 973, which is powered by Fintech Galaxy’s digital crowdsourcing and API platform, FinX22. The digital platform enables the screening, interaction and collaboration among innovators, financial institutions, and regulators, allowing them to crowdsource and prototype fintech solutions prospectively in Fintech Galaxy’s FinX22 Open API Sandbox.