The Fintech Vietnam Forum was organized by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) with support from the Mekong Business Initiative, a program jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in Hanoi on November 8. The forum is the culmination of the 2019 Fintech Challenge Vietnam (FCV).

The FCV attracted 208 applications this year by early- and growth-stage fintech companies from 28 countries and territories around the world that aim to accelerate financial technology (fintech) and industry collaboration for financial inclusion and digital banking transformation.

“The FCV has provided useful input into developing an enabling legal framework for the fintech ecosystem’s development in Vietnam,” said Mr. Nguyen Kim Anh, SBV Deputy Governor and Chairman of the central bank’s Fintech Steering Committee. “We will continue to gather lessons learned as the winning fintech startups develop and prepare to deploy their solutions.”

“New technologies have exciting potential to expand access to finance for unbanked and underbanked groups, while enhancing the efficiency and financial security in Vietnam’s fast-growing market,” said Mr. Eric Sidgwick, ADB Country Director for Vietnam. “The FCV bodes well for financial inclusion and digital finance in the country.”

Applications focused on big data and artificial intelligence, financial service outreach, and cybersecurity technology, which are priorities identified by the SBV. The finalists presented their pitches before a panel of independent judges at the Demo Day on November 7. Three early-stage and three growth-stage fintech companies won cash prizes totaling $55,000.

The FCV 2019 was additionally sponsored by Mastercard and Visa and received technical support from EY and Padang & Co.

Corporate partners included TPBank, UOB, Vietcombank, VietCredit, VietinBank, and the Viettel Digital Services Corporation, who are seeking technology approaches with efficient business models for joint pilot projects and commercial partnerships. Investment partners Phoenix Holdings and VinaCapital Ventures are evaluating ventures with high potential for investments. Ecosystem partners Thinkzone, VNPay, VIISA, VSV, and VietFintech may provide additional support and acceleration to the startups.