ČSOB and Mastercard are launching a unique challenge: the Fintech Challenge targets Central European startups

ČSOB and Mastercard are announcing the very first joint Fintech Challenge thanks to the Start it @ČSOB accelerator.

It’s designed primarily for young digital companies that bring innovation to the world of finance. The Fintech Challenge is a joint project of the Start it ČSOB startup accelerator and the technology company Mastercard. The deadline for applications is 28 March 2024.

“The future belongs to the prepared and to those who are not afraid to tackle new ideas. Startups have a significant potential to bring functional innovations that are also secure and reliable. Today’s banks are essentially technology companies that cannot afford to ignore current trends. That’s why ČSOB decided to join forces with its long-standing partner Mastercard in the unique Fintech Challenge. This way, we support revolutionary ideas that can improve our services,” said Michaela Bauer, Member of the ČSOB Board of Directors in charge of technology, innovations and operations.

The Fintech Challenge is designed for startups and innovative teams in fintech as well as artificial intelligence, process optimization and more. The important thing is that the participants must bring innovation to the world of finance either for end customers and clients or for companies and corporations. The programme is open to legal entities as well as newly formed teams targeting the Czech market. It’s intended for people from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Germany and Austria.

Selected fintech companies will gain access to a support programme with top experts: five-month mentoring, individual assistance and unique startup workshops focused on products and demand verification, establishing contact with interesting business partners, providing visibility for the startup including a pitch at the Demo Day and help in overcoming typical fintech obstacles. You can sign in at startit.csob.cz 

“Startups have great potential, but unfortunately also a high mortality rate. These young companies need expert help, time to grow and the support of a partner with know-how. That’s exactly what we offer as the global digital and technology leader. We also realise that the payment sector cannot do without innovation. That’s one of the reasons why we are launching this challenge together with our long-term partner ČSOB,” said Jana Lvová, CEO of Mastercard for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

This activity combines the unique expertise of two very strong leaders for the benefit of startups whose owners also do not lose ownership control of their companies by taking part in the accelerator. “We are looking for innovative ideas with high market and growth potential. We expect to see all this from fully engaged teams determined to improve their competences with a clear drive for commercial success. In return, we offer a helping hand in setting up their business and provide access to key partners,” explained Zuzana Paulovics, leader of the Start it @ČSOB accelerator.

Innovative digital solutions have also been long supported by Mastercard. “For young digital companies, it’s a unique opportunity to accelerate their business while minimising the risks of entering the market,” emphasized Viktor Gřešek, Business Development Manager at Mastercard. The list of partners of the Fintech Challenge also includes the Czech Fintech Association and FinTech Hub CEE.

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