Global payment company, Visa has announced its Everywhere Initiative (VEI) programme, a global open innovation programme to allow fintech and payment startups to showcase their innovative products and solutions.
The global overall prize money is $100,000 while 2nd and 3rd place winners will be given $20,000 and $10,000 respectively. One winner per region will be selected to compete in the global finals, which will take place in Qatar in November. Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region winner get $25,000 prize money.
Other categories include the Audience Favourite and the Visa Direct in which winners get $10k each.
Speaking on the announcement, Kemi Okusanya, Vice President, Visa West Africa says that Fintechs have enabled timely and easier access to money. Hence, the company’s resolve to continue to support innovation by finding and funding early players:
“Fintechs and other payments innovators are transforming the way consumers and businesses make payments, making it easier for more people to access the money they need when they need it – and the pandemic has seen this become more critical than ever”Kemi Okusanya, Vice President, Visa West Africa
Innovative fintech startups across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa are invited to sign up to gain exposure and access to Visa’s network, as well as a total of $45,000 in prize money. Finalists from across the world that are driving economic growth will converge in Qatar this November for the VEI finals.
Here, they will gain first-hand exposure to key fintech stakeholders across the banking, merchant, VC and government sectors.
The VEI program is open to innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs who are uplifting communities by solving payment and commerce challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and sectors.
Enablers of digital services and digital issuers
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency
- BIN sponsors
- Program managers
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency
- Alternative lending
- Personal financial management
- Money transfer and remittance
- Digital banking (aka neo banks)
- Digital wallets, peer-to-peer (P2P) and transfers
- Employee benefits
- Corporate cards (aka expense management)
Value-add for merchants and/or consumers in the finance space
- Data and analytics
- ID, authentication and security
- Merchant services and tools
- Process and payment infrastructure
- Retail technology
Small- and medium-sized businesses
- Money movement (disbursements, Intra-account, P2P vendor and payments)
- Acceptance (e-commerce and mobile acceptance)
- Risk management (chargebacks, etc.)
- Brand management (Community building, etc.)
How to apply
Eligible startups can apply here as applications are open now. For Egyptian startups, the application closes March 20, 2022, while startups in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) have until April 4, 2022, to apply.
About the programme
The VEI network includes 8,500 startups from around the world, which continues to grow every year. Since its launch in 2015, the program has helped startups from over 100 countries collectively raise more than $2.5 billion in funding, addressing one of the biggest challenges faced by early-stage entrepreneurs.
Every year, the scope of VEI is expanded to engage with unique startups and solve unique problems in the world of payments. This year’s program has expanded to include startups that are using cryptocurrency and Visa Direct, a payment solution that can help businesses move money to billions of endpoints worldwide via card and account rails, in innovative ways.
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