Joint fintech and innovation festival returns in December in hybrid form with Covid-19 focus

MAS is organising the five-day event with Enterprise Singapore and the National Research Foundation. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FINTECHFESTIVAL.SG

SINGAPORE - A global festival for professionals in the fintech and deep tech industries will return to Singapore in December 2020, in a format that will allow participants to attend events, both digital and physical, wherever they are and at any time of the day.

The hybrid affair, to meet Covid-19 social distancing rules, will be a special feature of this second Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) x the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (Switch), which will be held from Dec 7-11.

Another new feature of the five-day festival is to highlight the strength and resilience shown by some companies and trailblazing pioneers, said the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr Ravi Menon, on Monday (Aug 3).

"2020 is going to go down in history as the year of the pandemic, and the human cost is tragic, the economic cost is widespread.

"But I think that story would not be complete if we also did not tell the story of the people who exhibited great courage, resilience and creativity in the face of adversity, who found solutions to how life can carry on, how societies can continue to function," he told reporters at a Zoom briefing to launch the festival.

MAS is organising it with Enterprise Singapore and the National Research Foundation .

With its hybrid form, participants can take part in the festival's activities at any time of the day, said MAS and Enterprise Singapore in a joint statement on Monday.

As these activities will include panel discussions that will take place on video conferencing platforms across the globe and stream throughout the event, participants can go online anytime to watch them.

The organisers have dubbed it the world's first "round-the-clock" event, in which participants can gain insights from global thought leaders on deep tech and fintech issues as well as network with international innovators, investors and collaborators.

Last year, about 60,000 people from 140 countries attended the inaugural show, including Queen Maxima of the Netherlands; Mr Agustin Carstens, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, and Mr Pavan Sukhdev, president of World Wildlife Fund International.

The coronavirus pandemic has underscored that innovation and resilience in people are integral in overcoming challenges, and it is for this reason that SFF x Switch 2020 will be themed "People and Talent", said the organisers.

"SFF x Switch will shine a spotlight on the trailblazing pioneers who have made a difference, as well as rising stars with the potential to transform global industries," they added.

"It will also honour individuals who have demonstrated remarkable resilience in overcoming obstacles to create new opportunities that have significantly advanced our society."

Mr Menon further pointed out that "innovation and creativity played a big part in all of this... and the SFF x Switch is really a celebration of that".

Yet another new feature is the setting up of an "online city" by organisations, to overcome the obstacle of participants not being able to meet many people physically.

This "city" is a digital location given to each participating organisation. There, they can share and engage with participants, as well as schedule one-on-one meetings.

Unlike last year's event, which was held at Singapore Expo, this year's festival will not have a main conference in a physical location.

Still, there will be physical events which the organisers say will be hosted by partners all around the world, said the organisers.

"Participants can access physical events hosted in their cities to network with local government and industry leaders, learn about the country's key government initiatives and local early-stage start-ups or access closed-door roundtables," they added.

The festival will also feature internship programmes, start-up competitions and an award ceremony for fintech firms.

More details are available at the SFFx Switch website.

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