Who's Behind This?

The Open Up Challenge is run by Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, through Nesta’s wholly owned subsidiary Nesta Enterprises Limited.

The prize is backed by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), with funding from eight of the UK’s largest providers of SME banking: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander, AIB Group (UK) p.l.c, Bank of Ireland UK and Danske Bank. The Challenge forms part of a package of CMA remedies aimed at shaking up retail banking and sits at the heart of the UK's open banking agenda.

Nesta is a global innovation foundation with a mission to spark and shape new ideas to improve how the world works for everyone. Within Nesta, the Challenge Prize Centre uses prizes to stimulate innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face. Challenge prizes are a simple but powerful idea. A problem or opportunity is identified, the challenge is publicised and rewards offered to those who can deliver the best solutions.

The Centre specialises in designing challenge prizes across all areas of the economy and recruiting the most promising teams and individuals to participate in those prizes. Our current roster of prizes includes:

  • Longitude Prize: funding experimental solutions to anti-microbial resistance
  • Mobility Unlimited: supporting next-generation mobility devices, in partnership with Toyota Mobility Foundation
  • Flying High: bringing together local communities, national regulators and policymakers, and tech startups, to advance urban drone systems in the UK, in partnership with Innovate UK

Open Banking

Open banking APIs are now live in the UK market, enabling small businesses to securely and conveniently share their data with third parties, such as startups and other market challengers. The APIs also enable those challengers to get real-time access to product information from the providers of current account, unsecured small value loans and overdrafts, as well as to initiate payments on behalf of their small business users. We've compiled some useful reading below to navigate this space.

  • Open Banking Limited is the organisation responsible for developing the open banking standard. Visit their website for more information on the background to open banking. Developers can find the technical standard here.
  • Open banking implements and reaches beyond a piece of EU legislation called PSD2. Payments UK has a good primer on the subject. The Competition & Markets Authority paved the way for open banking following after investigating the UK retail banking market.
  • Wired has covering open banking in detail. We recommend the following:
  • Open banking went live on 13 January 2018. This BBC article provides a neat overview.
  • What can open banking actually do for small businesses? Chris Gorst, who's leading the Open Up Challenge, sat down with Trevor Clawson of Forbes after announcing the ten prize winners from the Challenge's 2017 cohort. Read the article here.