Innovation Hub "Wolooj" Framework Document

The Wolooj Regulatory Sandbox framework within the Innovation Hub at the Central Bank of Kuwait serves as a cutting-edge platform designed to foster financial innovation and promote the development of the fintech ecosystem. By offering a controlled environment for testing new technologies and business models, this framework enables startups, fintech firms, and other innovators to experiment with their ideas in a safe and supervised setting. Through Wolooj Sandbox, the Central Bank of Kuwait aims to drive digital transformation in the financial sector, enhance regulatory compliance, and ultimately support the growth of a more dynamic and competitive financial services industry in the region.

Wolooj Sandbox aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Encouraging the deployment of innovative fintech solutions that can enhance the efficiency, accessibility, and security of financial services in Kuwait;
  • Providing a controlled environment where startups and fintech firms can test new technologies, products, and services and helping them fulfill the regulatory requirements;
  • Support the FinTech ecosystem in a responsible manner; and
  • Fostering the creation of inclusive financial products and services that promote broader access to financial services.

Listed below are the stages that the applicant goes through in Wolooj. If any participant wishes to withdraw from the Wolooj program at any stage, they shall notify CBK officially in writing, indicating their justifications accordingly.

  • Pre-Application Stage:

This is the initial phase where applicants can express their interest in participating in Wolooj. During this stage, applicants are encouraged to fill and submit the Wolooj pre- application form to provide a description of their product or service, highlighting its potential impact on the financial sector.

The following steps will outline the process:

  • Fill and submit both the Wolooj pre-application form and provide their business plan via
  • CBK’s team shall review and screen the application to assess its suitability.
  • Following the screening phase, the applicants will be invited for an interview appointment.

Based on the evaluation outcomes, the selected applicants may proceed to the next stage. The participants are notified and provided with detailed guidelines for the subsequent stages.

  • Application Stage:

At this stage the participant will be contacted by email to submit documents related to their product/service which will be reviewed by CBK’s team.

A follow-up meeting may be conducted if necessary. After further assessment in terms of technical, security and regulatory aspects, CBK’s designated team will provide their feedback officially to the applicant.

  • Guidance Stage:

This is the core stage of Wolooj, where there will be scheduled workshops for open questions in order for the participant to receive support on the proposed product or service. CBK’s team in coordination with the relevant stakeholders (internal and external) will guide and support the participants throughout their journey to set a plan for the following:

  • Set measurable targets and milestones for the Pilot stage
  • The product/service is presented live (demo)
  • Discussing the testing plan (technical, safety and operational)

After the guidance stage is complete, CBK’s designated team will communicate officially to the applicant with a letter of acceptance and will provide the applicant with the approved safeguards and request the regulatory sandbox license.

  • Pilot Stage:

This stage consists of two phases, the testing phase and the soft launch phase.

1. Testing Phase:

The scope of testing is to be determined on a case by case basis and the testing of the proposed product or service shall include:

  • Measuring the level of compliance as per CBK’s regulations;
  • Verifying the adequate security measures are applicable and that customers confidentiality and privacy standards maintained; and
  • Measuring operational efficiency

During this stage, the following is required to be performed by the participant:

  • The participant shall create a list of test users to test the proposed product or service.
  • Running a live testing session shall be created between CBK’s designated team, participant and other stakeholders.
  • Participants are required to provide periodic reports on their progress. These reports shall include details on test results, feedback received from users or stakeholders, and any other challenges encountered during testing. Modification are not accepted on the proposed testing services or products unless there is a necessary need for the modification.
  • Participant are required to submit the proof of acceptance of all stakeholders on the approved safeguards.
  • Participant shall confirm the scope of product before testing it to ensure safety of operations.

2. Soft Launch Phase:

The participant is required to comply with the measure pertaining to soft launch of the proposed product or service to the volunteer customers and they are required with the following:

  • To inform the volunteer customers of the potential risks related to the proposed product or service. In addition to ensure that they set adequately the risk mitigation and customer data protection measures.
  • Provide a precise scope for the participation of the volunteer customers based on the agreed testing scenario.

During this stage, monthly progress reports are required to be submitted. Upon the completion of the soft launch phase and the provided results, the participant will be notified officially of the following:

  • The participant has successfully completed the soft launch phase and is ready to move to the graduation stage;
  • Revert the product or service to any of the previous stages; or
  • Reject the product or service.

  • Graduation Stage:

Upon the completion of the Pilot Stage, the participant is considered Wolooj program graduate. This stage signifies that Wolooj participant has passed all the necessary criteria and the participant will obtain CBK’s approval.