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2022 NXTSTAGE Financial Technology Pilot Competition Launches

2022 NXTSTAGE Financial Technology Pilot Competition Launches

Wichita, Kan. – March 17, 2022 – NXTUS, Inc. today announced the launch of the 2022 NXTSTAGE Financial Technology Pilot Competition alongside Premiere Sponsors Emprise Bank and Fidelity Bank.

This innovation program enables startups from around the world to present their technology tools to Kansas banks, credit unions and financial services companies. The startups hope to gain market feedback and earn pilot tests and paying customers.

Emprise Bank, Fidelity Bank and other pilot partners get the benefit of collaborating with innovative young companies and being an early adopter of next-generation “FinTech” solutions. These are technologies designed to help financial institutions enhance their digital banking offerings and other capabilities.

“We greatly value our participation with NXTUS as a founding program partner,” said Matt Michaelis, Chairman, President and CEO of Emprise Bank, which has so far awarded three pilot projects through the competition. “NXTSTAGE gives us the opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs who have diverse perspectives and backgrounds and offer innovative technology solutions to deliver personalized and relevant experiences to our customers. Collaborating with them has helped drive us forward, and we’re excited to meet this year’s competitors.”

“The financial services industry is undergoing a technology transformation, and the entrepreneurial spirit is powering that,” said Aaron Bastian, President and CEO of Fidelity Bank. “For us, the innovation spotlighted by NXTSTAGE invigorates our work to continue to build capabilities that help us deliver excellent experiences for our customers. At the same time, NXTSTAGE helps grow the startup ecosystem right here in Kansas.”

In addition to Emprise and Fidelity, INTRUST Bank returns to the competition as an innovation partner. Thanks to their support, as well as grant funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, NXTSTAGE is advancing its vision to boost the growth of young tech companies and build the innovation culture in the region. “NXTSTAGE is backed by forward-thinking organizations that believe Kansas can be a great proving ground for promising technologies and a place where startups can thrive,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, NXTSTAGE executive director. “We’re working to accelerate innovation in our region and send a strong signal to early-stage companies in the region and around the world that they can grow their business here.”

Applications for the competition are being accepted through March 31 on the f6s startup platform. Kansas banks, credit unions or financial services businesses can still participate with this innovation program by contacting

NXTSTAGE’s 2021 financial technology competition attracted 107 competitors (up 60 percent from 2020), that were based in 27 states and nine other countries. High-quality entrepreneurs responded extremely well to the overall value proposition of the program: giving them access to the Kansas market to gain customer feedback and possibly a pilot contract. Diverse startups competed; 81 percent of the competing startups had ethnic minority or females as founders, and of the 12 finalists, which were from 7 states and Canada, 92 percent had ethnic minority or females as founders (75 percent had any ethnic minority; 67 percent had females as founders or co-founders.

The 2021 program’s Innovation Showcase, primarily an online event, drew more than 600 viewers, featured Steve Case and highlighted 12 finalists offering offered a broad array of technology tools that tackled both customer-facing capabilities and operations challenges:

  • Better serve ‘credit invisible’ and underbanked community segments
  • Promote financial literacy, debt repayment and home-lending equity
  • Enhance security and prevent fraud with modern identity verification tools
  • Link smoothly with small-business customers’ financial information
  • Boost sales with improved internal tools and hyper-targeted offers

The 2021 competition winner was Cedar Credit Builder, now called Tuo Credit Builder, which allows consumers with little or no credit history to strengthen their credit score using automated borrowing and repayment on a small-scale line of credit. They were awarded a pilot project by Emprise Bank. “Their innovative yet simple solution to a critical consumer obstacle aligned perfectly with our mission of empowering people to thrive,” said Michaelis.

For more information on this program, see the competition website; to learn more about NXTUS entrepreneur support options or about investing in local startups, see the organization’s website or 2021 Annual Report or contact


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