Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Innovation Challenge

FinTechAD Innovation Challenge: FAQs


1. What is the FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge about?

The FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge is a 5-week programme for mature start-ups to contextualize and present market-ready solutions that could address problem statements identified in the Middle East, Africa & South Asia (MEASA) region. For the list of identified problem statements, please click here.

The Innovation Challenge will culminate in a Demo Day, where programme finalists will showcase their innovative solutions at the FinTech Summit in Abu Dhabi during the week of 23 October 2017. A panel of industry experts will select two winners who will be invited to demo their solution at the upcoming Global FinTech Hackcelerator in Singapore.

The Innovation Challenge is jointly Organised  by Abu Dhabi Global Market and KPMG Digital Village.

2. Why should I be part of the FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge?

1. Commercial opportunities

Potential to explore commercial opportunities in the MEASA region with business stakeholders looking for solutions contextualised to their specific needs. Also including the chance to join adoption programmes and collaborative ecosystems (e.g. KPMG Digital Village).

2. Cash stipend

US$15,000 cash stipend for all 10 selected teams.

3. Mentorship

Business guidance and support from leaders in the industry.

4. RegLab

Fast-tracked consideration for admission to ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) programme.

5. Network

Connect with the FinTech ecosystem in the MEASA region.

6. Provision of Co-Working Space

Throughout the programme duration, participating start-ups are invited to work at the co-working space in Abu Dhabi.

3. How do I submit an entry for FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge?

You can submit your application by midnight UTC 25th August 2017 for any of the 15 problem statements across 6 focus areas. Please refer to the following section to receive more information about the problem statements. To access the application form, please click here.

Problem Statements

1. What are the problem statements?

The 15 problem statements address real business challenges in the financial services industry in the MEASA region. They are divided into six focus areas:

  1. Financial and Investment Management
  2. Financial Inclusion
  3. RegTech
  4. Trade Finance
  5. InsurTech
  6. Private Capital Markets

For more information on the problem statements, please view the full list here

2. Can I submit a proposal for more than one problem statement?

Yes, you can definitely answer more than one problem statement! However, we recommend focusing your resources on the one problem statement that your product and services are most suited for in terms of ease of deployment and scalability.

3. Can I submit multiple entries/solutions?

Yes, you can. We welcome multiple entries of different solutions, which address any of the 15 problem statements. However, we focus on solutions with a working prototype and a go-to-market strategy.


1. Who should apply?

All mature start-ups with a working prototype and go-to-market strategy are highly encouraged to apply to the FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge. Selected finalists must be able to demonstrate a working solution by the end of the programme.

We are looking for individuals and teams who have demonstrated passion and tenacity towards solving real business problems.

2. I am not based in Abu Dhabi/UAE. Can I still participate?

Yes. A part of the program is run virtually. However, depending on how advanced your proposal is, you will need to be in Abu Dhabi for the first week of the 5- week program as well as for the last two weeks leading up to Demo Day on the 22nd October as this is an extremely critical period. During your time in Abu Dhabi, you will build connections with the industry, including leaders from the financial institutions, technology and the investment community. Throughout the 5-week program, you are expected to have check-ins with the organizing team and mentors virtually.

3. I have participated in another programme, can I still apply?

You are encouraged to apply even if you are currently part of another program such an incubator, accelerator, or hackathon. However, given the intensity of our innovation challenge, do share with us the level of involvement you have committed to these programs. If you are unsure about this, do speak to us so we can evaluate your application on a case-by-case basis.

4. How many finalists will be selected?

There will be 10 finalists for the 5-week program.

5. How will the teams be selected for the programme?

Teams will be selected by a panel of industry experts based on the following criteria:

  1. Uniqueness of the solution
  2. Relevance to the problem statements
  3. Business potential and scalability of the solution
  4. Maturity of solution
  5. Demonstration of start-up’s ability to execute

5 Week Programme

1. What are your key dates for the Accelerator? (subject to changes)

06 Aug 2017 – Problem statements published and applications open

25 Aug 2017 – Applications close Midnight (UTC)

17 Sep 2017 – 5-week programme commences

24 Oct 2017 – Innovation Challenge Demo Day and announcement of 2 winners

2. What is the commitment level required?

The 10 selected finalists must be committed to the development and presentation of solutions that address the problem statement within the stipulated timeframe. At the minimum, here are some of the things that are expected:

  • Attend weekly sync-ups with KPMG
  • Assign one lead as the main point of contact throughout the program
  • Be present in Abu Dhabi during the first week of start-up initiation and mentoring sessions (week of 17th September 2017)
  • Be present in Abu Dhabi during the last two weeks leading up to Demo Day as this is an extremely critical period (week of 15th and 23rd September 2017). It would be advisable for the senior executives to be present at Demo Day

We understand that you may have made prior arrangements for client engagement or conference participation within the program period. As such, please speak to us early and we will work together to find workarounds.

3. Where will participants be based throughout the programme?

All participating start-ups are required to attend the Start-up Initiation and Mentoring Sessions in week of 17th September in Abu Dhabi. Rest assured assistance in relocation matters will be provided.

The POC development and contextualization is not required to take place in Abu Dhabi. We will engage in weekly virtual check- points throughout this phase.

For the last two weeks leading up to Demo Day (week of 15th and 23rd September), you will be based in Abu Dhabi again.

If you are required to travel out of Abu Dhabi during the above mentioned periods for other engagements, do let us know in advance so we could arrange for necessary workarounds.

4. Will physical office space be provided?

Yes, it will be. Should your startup be selected and are interested in working in the UAE for the full 5 weeks of the program, we will provide you on a case by case basis. We do find that it is often very interesting and useful to immerse yourself in the environment that you are planning to enter!

5. Who are your partners/mentors?

We will announce program and outreach partners and mentors on the website shortly. We welcome participation from leaders from the industry. If you wish to be involved as a peer mentor, subject matter expert or corporate customer/investor please reach us at innovation@fintechabudhabi.com .


1. Will participants be paid during the 5-week period?

There will be a cash stipend of up to USD 15,000 per start-up during this period. This cash stipend will cover any costs associated with the contextualization of the solution, as well as miscellaneous costs such as travel matters or accommodation.

2. Will Abu Dhabi General Markets take up any equity or invest in participating start-ups?

No, Abu Dhabi Global Markets will not be taking up any equity or investing in the participating start-ups.

Demo Day

1. What is Demo Day about?

Demo Day will be held at the end of the programme on 22nd October 2017. This event gives the 10 finalists a chance to showcase their solutions on the main stage of the FinTech Summit in Abu Dhabi. Participants will be presenting to a panel of industry experts who will then select the two final winners.

2. What happens beyond the Innovation Challenge?

The two winners of the Innovation Challenge will be invited as part of ADGM’s participation at the Singapore FinTech Festival to showcase their solution on 16th November 2017 at the Global FinTech Hackcelerator in Singapore.

Finalists with promising solutions for deployment on a larger scale will be considered for fast-tracked admission to ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) programme.

Contact Us

1. Who is the key contact person for the Innovation Challenge?

If you have any queries or concerns to clarify, please contact us at innovation@fintechabudhabi.com