FIKRA FAQ
  • What is FIKRA?
    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 of FIKRA is to further enhance the Islamic capital market (ICM) ecosystem by identifying and scaling innovative fintech solutions in Malaysia. FIKRA will connect innovative start-ups through a collaborative environment for mentors, investors and industry enablers, along with relevant regulatory guidance, primarily through a 3-month accelerator programme.

    One of the other focus areas of FIKRA is to help position ICM as a lucrative segment for building a career by creating a talent pipeline through increased awareness of opportunities in Islamic fintech.
  • How is the programme structured?
    FIKRA is focused on driving two key engagements:
    1. Facilitating solution testing & pilots through the accelerator programme; and
    2. Growing ideas & solutions for subsequent engagement.

    The FIKRA accelerator programme will run for 3-months, which will include structured support to selected participants. The accelerator participants will go through curated sessions, masterclasses, mentoring and linkages with industry enablers for solution co-creation & testing, as well as solution showcase opportunities. Further, there will be continued post-accelerator tracking and networking opportunities for the participants.

    First Month
    Orientation with UNCDF will take place in the beginning of the programme. Broadly, it will focus on defining outcomes and milestones along with the support framework to achieve the outcomes. Participants will be introduced to and be acquainted with select industry partners that will work with the participants towards scoping the solution framework and engagement model.

    Second Month
    Participants will work towards co-creating the solution along with their partners, supported by inputs from the programme’s diverse pool of mentors and investors. Participants will also receive regulatory guidance from the SC. Depending on the progress of participants; pilot testing of solution may start in second month.

    Third Month
    The focus for the third month will be on solution testing and re-testing as well as refining the solution through feedback. Participants will also be coached for the pitching session to FIKRA’s panel of judges.
  • Who is eligible for FIKRA?
    Anyone (18 years old and above) with innovative and tech-based ideas and/or solutions is eligible to apply. These could be individual, start-ups at different stages of development or other organisations including fund managers and financial services providers that have an idea / solution that can address any of FIKRA’s three key challenge areas. FIKRA is open to local and global applicants, who can apply independently or as a consortium.

    Global participants do not need to be incorporated in Malaysia to participate in FIKRA; however, they will have to demonstrate how their offering/solution can create positive outcome/impact to Malaysia's ICM.

    Eligibility Criteria

    1. Idea and/or solution that addresses at least one of the following key challenges relevant to ICM in Malaysia –
      1. New ICM Offering
      2. Access to ICM
      3. Integration of Islamic social finance into ICM
    2. Individual participant or person representing an organization (individuals must be at least 18-years old as on the date of application)
    3. The applicant and the proposed idea/solution must not involve any Shariah non-compliant activities including services based on riba’ (interest), gambling & gaming, manufacture and sale of non-halal products or related products, conventional insurance, entertainment activities that are non-permissible according to Shariah, manufacture and sale of tobacco-based products or related products, stockbroking or share trading in Shariah non-compliant securities, other activities deemed non-compliant according to Shariah.
  • What is “regulatory guidance” in FIKRA?
    Regulatory guidance in FIKRA would include SC providing relevant informative session on securities laws and regulatory frameworks to participants as an introduction to Malaysia's capital market. Participants may also receive regulatory clarification from relevant line departments in SC.

    Engagements with SC via FIKRA do not begin or fast-track any licensing, registration or any other gatekeeping process; nor does it give any entitlement, guarantee or additional benefit in seeking for any licence, registration or any other approval process with any sectoral regulator.

    Any solutions that need to be regulated would still be required to comply with the necessary obligations and regulations imposed by whichever sectoral regulators that are relevant.
  • Who will be conducting the mentoring in FIKRA?
    Industry partners are the mentors that will work closely with the participants throughout the programme to co-create and refine solutions. Participants will also engage with various global mentors (academicians, investors and domain & sector experts) across technology adoption, human-centered design and building solution proposition.
  • How will the applicants for the accelerator programme be evaluated?
    Applicants will be evaluated against the following parameters:
    • Degree of Innovation (40%)
    • Sustainability & Commercial Viability (30%)
    • Social Impact and Sustainable Development Goals (30%)
  • How will the finalists/winners be selected?
    Participants will be pitching their solution proposition to a panel of judges at the end of the programme. Winners will be selected based on evaluation from these judges that will comprise select partners from industry, investors and sector experts, among others.
  • How is this programme different from others in the market?
    FIKRA is designed with a development perspective to further enhance the Islamic fintech ecosystem. The accelerator programme is meant to develop a vibrant innovation ecosystem for the ICM by building a collaborative environment for applicants to be connected to industry partners and investors. It aims to also create a continuous pipeline of solutions, talents and skills for the fintech-segment within ICM.
  • How will one benefit from the programme?
    All who enter the programme will gain benefits in varying degrees depending on which stage they are currently at with their growth journey. All participants will gain access to FIKRA’s curated masterclasses and webinars. Those selected for the accelerator programme will gain from structured support towards solution development through mentoring, regulatory guidance and access to programme’s partner & investor network. The selected participants will also receive post-programme monitoring support.
  • What is the timeline for the programme?
    Applications Open (25 May – 30 Jun) > Evaluation & Cohort Selection (July) > Structured Support (Jul-Sep) > Demo Day at SC x SC fintech conference (Oct)
  • What is the role and operationalization of UNCDF in this programme?
    SC is jointly designing and executing the programme with UNCDF. UNCDF will share its experience of having developed and implemented several innovation and accelerator programmes. UNCDF will also engage its global ecosystem of stakeholders to help build the right market linkages and insights that enable the participants to derive more value from the programme.
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