Santander invites startups and scale-ups to apply for financial inclusion challenge

Source: Banco Santander

Financial inclusion is crucial to reducing inequality and creating opportunity. That’s why Banco Santander (through Santander Universities) and Oxentia Foundation are launching Santander X Global Challenge | Finance For All for startups and scaleups to come up with innovative, scalable solutions that open up banking products and services to everyone.

Sign-up is already open in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, Poland, Spain, the UK, Uruguay and the US. To be eligible, startups should have annual revenues of up to 250,000 euros, while scaleups need more than 250,000 euros in annual sales.

Entries must demonstrate solutions that meet one of three objectives:

Finance for Youth: Solutions that offer better financial products and opportunities to young people and help them prosper through education.

Finance for Elderly: Projects that make retirees’ experience with digital banking services more transparent, fluid and personal.

Finance for Unbanked: Giving people outside the financial system access to banking products.

“Guaranteeing that everyone has access to finance is a logical way for banks to enhance well-being, enable people to prosper, manage their needs better, broaden their horizons, and boost their quality of life. Santander is staunchly committed to financial inclusion, which is why we’re calling on entrepreneurs to join this challenge”, said Héctor Grisi, executive chairman and senior executive vice-president of Santander México.

A panel of international experts will run the rule over entries and choose 20 finalists to pitch their ideas to business leaders, innovators, investors and Santander executives.

The six winners will be announced on 14 December. Three startups will each receive EUR 10,000; and three scaleups, EUR 30,000. The event will be live-streamed on

According to Oxentia Foundation CEO Steve Cleverley: “At Oxentia, we work with entrepreneurs that are addressing many of the UN’s sustainable development goals. Helping entrepreneurs face these challenges through innovation is at the heart of our work. The Oxentia Foundation is therefore delighted to launch a new Global Challenge in partnership with Santander X. Through this, we hope to identify innovative solutions that make digital financial inclusion available for all; to reduce inequalities for the young, old, and poorest members of society”.

In addition to the cash prize, the six winners will get membership to Santander X’s new, elite community of entrepreneurs, SX100, which promotes innovation as a driver of productivity, employment and economic growth. SX100 helps the best and most innovative startups and scaleups get the resources they need to grow.

Startups and scaleups interested in competing have until 16 November to sign up on

This latest challenge is just one of several initiatives Banco Santander is running to mark 25 years of supporting higher education, employment and entrepreneurship. To date, the bank has helped over 630,000 students, professionals, startups and SMEs through investment of more than 2 billion euros and agreements with 1,000+ universities in 11 countries.

It also outlines financial inclusion as a pivotal component of Santander’s responsible banking strategy. Banco Santander recently scooped Euromoney magazine's award for World's Best Bank for Financial Inclusion for its work to make financial services more accessible and promote financial literacy through its education programmes. The Group aims to financially empower 10 million people between 2019 and 2025.

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