Westpac has teamed up with venture technology accelerator BlueChilli to challenge Australia's startups to develop ways to help the bank's business customers.
The first Westpac Innovation Challenge is offering a $40,000 prize to the start-up that creates the most useful and disruptive business idea for the bank's SME and commercial real estate customers.
The competition is open to Australian residents who either have an existing early-stage venture or a new concept. The winner will use their cash prize to develop their idea and also get a six-month placement in the BlueChilli startup accelerator programme.
Applications close on 19 October 2014 but Westpac says that it will then run more rounds, focused on other business customers from various industries.
Ian Hill, group head, innovation, Westpac, says: "By investing in innovation, both within our business and in partnership with organisations such as BlueChilli, we are able to quickly create and develop new ideas that will add substantial value to our customer service."
Last week Westpac opened the doors to its new 800 square meter innovation centre, 'the hive', in Kogarah, where staff and selected industry partners will get access to the latest research and expertise to help them experiment with new ideas.
The site has cloud-based development capabilities, a data sand-box, a wireless-enabled demilitarised zone environment that will provide staff and partners with the technology access and tools they need, but that is isolated from the Westpac corporate network, and prototyping tools such as 3D printer.