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.
The Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation program is inviting fintech and payment startups to showcase their innovative products and solutions, with finalists gaining firsthand exposure to key fintech stakeholders across banking, merchant, VC and government sectors. Winners of the competition will be awarded monetary prizes and the opportunity to partner with a global, trusted brand like Visa.
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. Finalists from across the world that are driving economic growth will converge in Qatar this November for the VEI finals.
“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,” said Kemi Okusanya, Vice President, Visa West Africa.
“Competing on a global stage alongside some of the most prestigious startups in the world and, more importantly, being able to receive that global exposure and support from a trusted brand like Visa was an exceptional achievement for PAYZE,” said Giorgi Tsurtsumia, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of PAYZE as well as 2021 VEI CEMEA Winner. PAYZE is an e-commerce-oriented fintech that enables businesses across CIS countries to accept payments from around the world through a single integration. With the support of Visa’s network and a cash prize of $25,000, the PAYZE team is busy fulfilling their vision, having processed more than 250,000 transactions across 2021.
The competition also saw Karachi-based fintech, Safepay, win the CEMEA Audience Favorite award and $10,000 in prize money. Safepay specializes in secure payment processing for e-commerce stores and helps merchants increase checkout conversions, expedite receivables, and streamline sales by allowing their customers to pay online.
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, the program will have a clear focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), a region with tremendous opportunity for fintechs that are developing innovative products and solutions aimed at supporting the community. The latest edition of VEI sees two new editions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the global finale in Qatar in November 2022.
VEI is seeking innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs who are uplifting communities by solving payment and commerce challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and sectors, including:
Enablers of digital services and digital issuers
Blockchain and cryptocurrency
Blockchain and cryptocurrency
Personal financial management
Money transfer and remittance
Digital banking (aka neo banks)
Digital wallets, peer-to-peer (P2P) and transfers
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
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.)
Visa does not acquire any equity from Visa Everywhere Initiative competitors as part of this competition.
More information and application details are available here.