Green FinTech Challenge and Digital Sandbox: which service to apply for

Applications open for both the Green FinTech Challenge 2021 and the Second Digital Sandbox pilot on 6 September 2021. This guide helps firms understand which service to apply for.

The Green FinTech Challenge 2021 and the Second Digital Sandbox pilot are part of a programme of work to assist firms and regulators to overcome some of the challenges that moving to a net zero economy will raise in the area of sustainability and climate change. 

When applying, firms should consider which service is more appropriate for their requirements. 

Our services and who they are for

The Digital Sandbox is for firms at the early proof of concept stage, and the Green FinTech Challenge is for firms preparing to take their services to market. The key differences between the services are outlined below. 

Green FinTech Challenge 2021

Provides firms with:

  • access to our firm support services to facilitate development and live market testing of new products and services that will aid the transition to a net zero economy
  • reduced time-to-market at potentially lower cost
  • support in understanding our regulatory regime, and identifying appropriate consumer protection safeguards to build into new products and services
  • provide better access to finance through demonstration of the proposed innovation in a real-world context

Who this is for:

  • firms looking to deliver innovation to aid the transition to a net zero economy that is either regulated business or supports regulated business in the UK financial services market
  • firms and innovations which are genuinely innovative and provide a significantly different offering in the market
  • firms and innovations that offer a good prospect of identifiable benefit to consumers  
  • firms which have a genuine need for Innovate services (Direct Support, Advice Unit, the Regulatory Sandbox)

Tools and services:

  • a dedicated case officer and access to regulatory expertise 
  • we can provide informal steers on potential regulatory implications of an innovative product or business model that is at an early stage of development
  • bespoke Green FinTech Challenge Cohort engagement eg showcasing and networking events
  • firms that are looking to test in the regulatory sandbox will also be able to apply for Restricted Authorisation (Firms conducting regulated activity in the UK must be authorised to do so)

Digital Sandbox 

Provides firms with:

  • synthetic data sets
  • an application programming interface (API) marketplace 
  • an integrated development environment
  • a collaboration platform
  • an observation deck

Who this is for:

  • firms that are at the ideation or proof of concept stage in the product lifecycle
  • the solution/product is sufficiently different from what already exists in the market
  • the solution would benefit UK consumers or financial services firms by solving one of the ESG data and disclosure use cases 
  • the firm would benefit from access to data sets and other types of support in the Digital Sandbox to further develop or validate the idea or solution

Tools and services:

  • access to synthetic, anonymised and other data sets to enable testing, training and validation of prototype technology solutions
  • an API marketplace where digital service providers list and provide access to services via APIs
  • an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) in which to develop and test their solution
  • an ecosystem of observer and mentor organisations, such as incumbents, academia, government bodies, venture capital, and charities that can provide support, input and feedback
  • a platform to showcase their solutions to regulators and other interested parties to observe in-flight testing at a technical level