Earlier this week, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), through its Center for Financial Health program, introduced an accelerator to support the Islamic Fintech innovation ecosystem in the Southeast Asian country.
The program, known as the FIKRA Islamic Fintech Accelerator Program (FIKRA), will be focused on scaling high-potential Islamic (or Shariah-compliant) Fintech products that can help address key challenge areas such as new ICM offerings, improved accessibility and social finance integration.
FIKRA has reportedly been developed to convert ideas into real-life solutions. The program takes entrepreneurs through the value chain from ideation, solutions validation, prototype development, setting up a fundraising pitch deck, to getting applicants ready for an effective plan to market their business models to investors.
Fintech startups that take part in FIKRA’s first accelerator should be able to benefit from regulatory guidance, the program’s mentorship opportunities, and social networking events.
The methodologies used for the program have been created by UNCDF and are based on their extensive experience managing innovation challenges via their Financial Innovation Lab (FinLab) and now scaled to work with finance-focused projects under the Center for Financial Health.
Program participants will be able to work with FIKRA’s business partners including Bank Islam Malaysia, Gobi Partners, Kenanga Investment Bank, and Permodalan Nasional Berhad.
At present, the program is open for registration, and is expected to start in July 2021 for 3 months, ending in a public virtual demo day during the annual SCxSC Fintech Conference 2021.
Applications for the program will be accepted until June 30, 2021.
Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, Chairman at SC, stated:
“Islamic fintech in the Malaysian capital market is still at a nascent stage, but there is great potential for exponential growth with the right ecosystem. The accelerator and future initiatives under FIKRA will advance the development of Islamic fintech while creating an ecosystem that nurtures talent, funds innovation, commercialises ideas and solutions, and creates jobs and opportunities.”
Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary for UNCDF, remarked:
“To achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is important to ensure that product offerings focus on building financial resilience and security for the people we serve. As we look to broaden market participation, FIKRA can be an avenue for innovators to cultivate their solutions that can potentially provide a much-needed and timely boost for the Malaysian ICM. We look forward to partnering with the SC on this innovative initiative.”