Santander X Global Challenge aims to support SME's digital transition

Banco Santander (through Santander Universities) and Oxentia Foundation are launching the Santander X Global Challenge | Helping Businesses Prosper for entrepreneurs with innovative, scalable solutions to help SMEs - the main driver of economic growth, job creation and social unity - digitalise and be more efficient.

From today, the challenge is accepting applications from startups and scaleups in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Poland, the UK, Uruguay and the US that are legally incorporated and market a product or service. Furthermore, startups should have annual revenues of up to 500,000 euros, while scaleups need more than 500,000 euros in annual sales.

All projects will have to demonstrate their innovative and scalable solutions that help SMEs to:

  • digitalise their business through online channels and tools that can competitively increase the supply of their products or services and help them find new opportunities, customers and markets.
  • be more efficient, understand their finances better, find more opportunities, reduce risk and automate operations to enhance their long-term strategy.

“Helping SMEs prosper is Santander’s chief purpose, and it means helping society prosper. In Europe, SMEs account for more than half the economy and 65% of all jobs. That’s why, in such challenging times for SMEs, it pleases me to announce that Santander X is calling on entrepreneurs from all over the world,” said António Simões, CEO of Santander España and Regional Head for Europe. 

In launching the challenge, Oxentia Foundation CEO Steve Cleverley, said: “At Oxentia, we fully understand the challenges that companies face when growing and scaling. Oxentia has helped to find and support SMEs around the world to bring new ideas to life and help entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses through innovation. The Oxentia Foundation is therefore delighted to launch this challenge, in collaboration with Santander X, to find innovations that help businesses prosper through digitising their business and/or through becoming more efficient.”

A panel of international experts will evaluate submissions to choose 20 finalists to present their projects to SME leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors on 6 July. On 9 July, four winners will be announced at an event streamed live here.  Two scaleups will receive €50,000, and two startups €10,000.

What’s more, the four winners will benefit from specialist mentoring from the Oxentia Foundation; feature on Banco Santander’s social media and official channels; and have the chance to present their projects to Fintech Station, Grupo Santander’s innovation team.

With four million SME customers, this global challenge builds on Banco Santander’s support for SMEs. In 2020, Euromoney named the bank the world’s Best Bank for SMEs for the third time in five years at its Excellence in Leadership Awards.

Startups and scaleups wishing to take part have until 24 June to sign up.