Polytechnics, MAS, industry players launch fintech hackathon
By Digital News Asia July 27, 2018
- Initiative aims to develop fintech API capabilities among the five polytechnics
- Winners to present their solutions at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2018
FIVE Singapore polytechnics, with the support from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and 12 industry partners, have come together to launch the inaugural PolyFinTech 100 Application Programming Interfaces (API) Hackathon, with the objective of nurturing fintech talent to meet the evolving needs of the financial services sector.
An application programming interface (API) helps developers connect to a function within an operating system, or acts as an intermediary between two applications.
For example, if someone develops an app that requires access to the iPhone camera, he can utilise Apple’s iPhone API to get that access without having to create his own camera software.
PolyFinTech 100 API Hackathon, which started on June 2, attracted close to 130 participants, comprising mainly students from the five polytechnics – Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.
Forming teams of five to six each, they turn ideas into proof-of-concept solutions based on APIs provided by industry partners.
The solutions will showcase how financial services can be incorporated into users’ daily activities.
Some of the solutions the teams are currently working on include banking applications for the visually impaired, mobile applications for enabling efficient GST refunds for tourists and e-payment services in hawker centres.
Six award categories
The 20 teams in the hackathon will present their solutions on 28 July to a panel of judges.
The participants will vie for awards in six categories, namely PolyFinTech 100 Award, Most Innovative DBS Solution Award, NETS Most Innovative Payments Award, OCBC Best Planned & Executed Award, Best Pitch Award and Open Category Award.
Winners will stand to win cash prizes up to S$3,500, potential internship opportunities with some of the industry partners, and the chance to present their solutions at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2018 to be held from Nov 12 to 16, 2018.
An industry collaboration initiative
Besides sponsoring the prizes, industry partners also provide mentorship for the participants at the hackathon.
This is in line with the objective of PolyFinTech 100, which started in October 2016 as a joint initiative with MAS to equip polytechnic students with the right skillsets for the growing fintech community through curriculum review, internships and real-world projects.
Since its inception, PolyFinTech 100 has also organised a series of Innovation Lab Crawls and workshops to provide polytechnic students with insights into the latest technologies and development of the fintech community, spanning across banks, payment solution providers and IT vendors.
“We are excited to host the largest API Hackathon in Singapore for the financial services sector as it is a great opportunity for not only participants to gain industry insights, but also for participating companies to nurture the next generation of FinTech API developers,” said Patrice Choong, Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s director for The Sandbox that is leading the PolyFinTech 100 API Hackathon.
Sopnendu Mohanty (pic, right), chief fintech officer of MAS, said “MAS is proud to bring the industry together and use APIs as a tool to foster innovation and collaboration to groom the next generation of talents.
“Customers today have a different expectation of financial services. It is timely to encourage students to reimagine and develop innovative and purposeful solutions by utilising APIs from the financial industry. Financial institutions can also tap on young talents and their innovative ideas for products that delight customers.”
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