SINGAPORE - Since its launch four years ago, a financial technology firm has helped over 20,000 Malaysians overcome their lack of a credit score to access micro-financing.
Global Psytech, led by founder Hanizah Yon, was able to do this with a fintech product it developed to understand the borrower's behaviour and assign him an alternative credit score.
Pacific Islanders will likely be the next group of people the Malaysian firm is helping - the firm was one of five winning fintech companies in a competition to improve fintech infrastructure in the Pacific Islands that ran from Wednesday (July 27) to Friday.
The results of the Pacific Islands Fintech Innovation Challenge 2022 were announced at the closing ceremony on Friday.
The event is organised by the United Nations Capital Development Fund, in partnership with Australia's Market Development Facility and the Asian Development Bank. It is aimed at making digital payments and other fintech products accessible to Pacific Islanders in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa.
"With the current banking situation in the Pacific Islands, we can't sit back and do nothing. We hope that all the brains participating in this challenge can come up with innovative solutions that can help communities in the Pacific Islands," said Mr Henry Puna, secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum, at the opening ceremony on Wednesday at Prudential Tower in Singapore.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who was the guest of honour at the opening event, said: "The Pacific Islands have always been known for their robust, entrepreneurial people. We believe fintech solutions will help to uplift the prospects for micro-business owners across the Pacific region."
The four other winners were data tech firm Yabx from India, software services provider IT Galax from Fiji, and MIHTS and Windcave from Australia.
There were 11 finalists from a field of 51 challengers.
The winning firms will get up to US$50,000 (S$69,000) in grants. They will be putting their ideas into practice with partners in the Pacific Islands in the coming months.