The FIKRA Islamic Fintech Accelerator Programme (FIKRA) is a joint initiative by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The objective is to further enhance the Islamic capital market (ICM) ecosystem in Malaysia by identifying and scaling innovative fintech solutions.
FIKRA supports the growth of innovative Islamic fintech solutions through structured mentorship, access to a network of industry and other domain experts, along with relevant regulatory guidance and engagement with investors for funding opportunities, primarily through a 3-month accelerator programme.
It invites applications from individuals (at least 18 years old) or start-ups at different stages of development or other organisations including fund managers and financial services providers that have an innovative tech-based idea and/or solution.
The idea/solution must address at least one of the following three key challenge areas:
- New Islamic capital markets offering: ideas on new Shariah products or services for ICM that can deliver the value propositions of Islamic finance.
- Access to Islamic capital markets: solutions to increase awareness and relevance of ICM in addressing financing gaps, sustainability agenda, and inclusion for mass retail and MSME segments.
- Islamic Capital markets- social finance integration: Tech solutions to integrate traditional Islamic social finance instruments into capital market.
The applicant and the proposed idea / solution must not involve any Shariah non-compliant activities including services based on ‘riba’ (interest), gambling & gaming, liquor and liquor-related activities, pork and pork-related activities, non-halal food and beverages, Shariah non-compliant entertainment, tobacco and tobacco-related activities, conventional share trading and stockbroking in Shariah non-compliant securities, and other activities deemed non-compliant according to Shariah.
FIKRA is open to Malaysian as well as international applicants from other countries, who can apply independently or as a consortium.
Benefits of FIKRA
- Product research and design: Providing inputs and expertise to better understand the customer behaviour, needs and journey – physical and financial – for better product design and use-case development.
- Go-to-market industry linkages: Connecting the participants with suitable market enablers and industry partners to help design, test and pilot the solution.
- Mentoring and insights: Providing guidance, inputs and knowledge from a network of sector and technology domain experts to help create a viable solution.
- Regulatory guidance: Conducting informative sessions on securities laws and regulatory frameworks. Opportunity to also receive regulatory clarification directly from the Securities Commission Malaysia.
- Access to network of investors: Enabling introductions and linkages with the investor community to facilitate fund-raising for the solution.
- Partnerships: Facilitating partnerships with stakeholders – including financial institutions and non-bank financial institutions – to help grow sustainably. UNCDF acts as a neutral facilitator of partnerships with private and public organizations.
- Policy and Advocacy: Convening efforts to support an enabling environment and for solutions to be piloted.