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Nordic fintech startups plan SDG bridge to Singapore
Copenhagen Fintech, UNDP seek to help firms establish sustainable ventures in Southeast Asia
28 Aug 2020 | The Asset

Copenhagen Fintech, a Danish organization promoting financial technology, is collaborating with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other institutions to bring Nordic fintech startups to Singapore to help them establish commercially scalable and sustainable ventures in the Southeast Asian region.

Local startups tackling some of the world's most urgent climate and poverty challenges will be involved in the programme to foster new partnerships and stronger ties between the ASEAN and the Nordics, Copenhagen Fintech said in a statement.

Also participating in the programme are UNDP's Global Center for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development in Singapore, UNDP's Nordic Office, and UNDP SDG Innovative Finance (UNSIF) in Bangkok. Signing up as partners of the programme are financial services groups Citi and DBS.

“As a global partner to Copenhagen Fintech, we’re excited to contribute to another industry-leading project focusing on sustainable innovation, which aligns to Citi's recently announced 2025 Sustainable Progress Strategy. The success of the programme will be instrumental in the development of SDGs, an area where Citi has strong commitment globally, and further boost the collaboration between the Nordic and ASEAN ecosystems,” says Rudi Baxter Warman, Citi country head in Denmark.

DBS chief sustainability officer Mikkel Larsen notes: “We look forward to extending our expertise and regional insights to the participating Nordic fintechs and plugging them into our innovation and sustainability ecosystem.”

Singapore is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading fintech hubs and a great supporter of the global fintech community. It hosts the annual Fintech  Festival, the largest gathering of fintech startups, financial institutions, academia, investors and thought leaders.

The programme will bring up to six carefully selected Nordic fintech companies to Singapore for a weeklong stay. They will be selected based on challenges formulated by UNDP, Copenhagen Fintech and other partners.  Applications open on September 1. 

According to a just released UN report, the fintech revolution offers major opportunities to accelerate financing of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) with more and better data, reduced transaction and intermediation costs, and innovative business models.

In the report, titled “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future,” the UN secretary general’s task force on digital financing of SDG presents an action agenda, which outlines key opportunities, steps to evolve sustainable fintech ecosystems, and necessary digital finance governance innovations.

Says Bradley Busetto, director of the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainability: “Through its Impact Venture Accelerators, UNDP is proud to support both established and startup enterprises to scale up innovative technology and business-based solutions to drive sustainable development and respond to Covid-19.

“In this new partnership with Copenhagen Fintech, UNDP will help amplify the sustainability focus of the selected ventures and apply its proven impact measurement and management  methodology. This reflects a global vision – that in order to achieve the SDGs we must work closely with the most innovative and creative entrepreneurs around the world to incorporate sustainability into the core of business.” 

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