On May 2, 2018, the Government of Ontario formally announced plans to open the Fintech Accelerator Office (FAO). The development of the FAO will be overseen by the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the OneEleven startup accelerator. The target launch date for the FAO is November 2018. The Government of Ontario had previously announced plans for the FAO and a Fintech Regulatory Super Sandbox.
The FAO’s objective will be to help Fintech startups develop and scale their businesses by connecting them with regulators, global financial institutions, and other Fintechs. This will be beneficial to Fintechs looking to navigate regulatory requirements, obtain access to business support programs, and explore opportunities for financing and demonstrating proofs of concept. The FAO could also be beneficial to policymakers by providing feedback to the Government. The Ontario Government’s announcement indicates the FAO will help inform government policies in future.
The Federal Government has also indicated interest in assisting emerging Fintech companies. In a recent Consultation Paper, the Department of Finance proposed establishing an advisory service for small payment service provider firms. This service could help qualified firms navigate the registration process and interpret regulatory requirements for their specific business model.
Other jurisdictions are also developing Fintech Accelerators. The Bank of England launched its Fintech Accelerator in 2016 and has helped Fintechs complete proofs of concept in respect of Distributed Ledger Technology, Data Storage, Machine Learning, and Cybersecurity. The Government of Singapore has partnered with the private sector to create a joint venture accelerator program. State governments in Australia have also sponsored Fintech accelerators.
There are also a number of private sector accelerators both in Canada (such as the DMZ-BMO Fintech Accelerator) and abroad. These programs assist the growth of cohorts of startup teams by providing them with mentorship and support within a set time frame.
By Ana Badour and Arie van Wijngaarden
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