Growth Street and the Open Up Challenge

When Nesta announced its Open Up Challenge earlier this year, we knew we had to apply. 

The Challenge is part of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s package of recommendations to promote innovation and competition in retail banking. The CMA has mandated that banks implement open banking in early 2018. Banking customers - both consumers and small businesses - will have a far greater degree of control over their financial data. This includes, importantly, how and with whom this data can be shared. Additionally, banks will be required to publish product information such as pricing in a standardised format, which will allow new providers to better facilitate the comparison of products for customers.

This spirit of openness and transparency is directly in line with Growth Street’s mission. We believe that for too long now, small businesses have been limited in their options when it comes to working capital finance. We created GrowthLine, a flexible line of credit for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME), with the intention of providing a twenty-first century solution for twenty-first century companies.

We have found it can be difficult for busy small business owners to wade through myriad different offers from different providers. We started our APR4SMEs campaign in 2016 in an effort to change the industry for the better, and were pleased when the CMA announced it would begin requiring annual percentage rate (APR) pricing for all unsecured commercial lending up to £25,000. Open banking is a natural extension of this, and we are excited for the innovations it should jump-start in the industry.

So it was a great honour when we were told Growth Street had been selected as one of 20 teams participating in the first stage of the Open Up Challenge. Wired UK covered the full announcement, including a list of all 20 teams selected to participate.

Since our founding, Growth Street has worked to help small business make use of their financial data to access finance and other tools to grow. To date, this has been limited to the integrations we have built with popular accounting software platforms. Open banking promises to allow businesses to share data more comprehensively with providers of their choice, and Growth Street is well placed to let them take advantage of this.

Over the coming months we’ll be working on exciting new additions to Growth Street’s products, working with the banking data and systems made available to us as a participant in the Challenge. We will use these new integrations to offer GrowthLine to a wider range of businesses. We’ll also deliver more actionable insights to allow business owners to manage cash flow more effectively. We’ve started on this recently with our Cash Flow Forecasting tool, and we will continue to expand the products we offer to give small business owners the tools they need to grow.

We’re thrilled that Growth Street has been selected to be one of those at the forefront of open banking for small businesses. Whether you’re a small business owner or not, this promises to be an exciting time for customer-focused innovation in finance.

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Head of Product