Applications open in Uganda for Visa Everywhere Initiative, a global innovation competition for fintech startups

Applications open in Uganda for Visa Everywhere Initiative, a global innovation competition for fintech startups

Kampala: Applications are now open in Uganda for the 2023 edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation competition that sees startups pitch their innovative solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges.

In addition to monetary prizes, VEI winners gain access and exposure to Visa’s vast networks of partners in the banking, merchant, VC, and government sectors. The winners also benefit from receiving recognition from one of the world’s most trusted and valuable brands.

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The Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) finals will be livestreamed on July 27 on TechCrunch – a leading online publisher focused on the tech industry and the startup ecosystem. The startup that wins at the CEMEA Regionals will participate in the global finale, which will be held on September 19 at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

Ayo Arikawe (middle) Co-founder of Thrive Agic alongside, Andrew Torre, (right) Regional President for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) CEMEA at Visa and Otto Williams, Senior Vice President, Head of Product, Partnerships, and Digital Solutions CEMEA at Visa during last year’s VEI finals

This year, Visa’s VEI CEMEA is set to introduce for the first time an award in the Risk and Security domain – Fintechs Innovating in Risk Excellence, or ‘FIIRE’, Award. Through this Special Edition, Visa in partnership with Emirates NBD are scouting for global Fintech players across fraud management, cybersecurity, and credit risk, among others. Following a joint review by Visa and Emirates NBD representatives, the winning Fintech will receive a $25,000 prize and an opportunity to work with Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the region.

“The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a platform that empowers fintechs and entrepreneurs to showcase the most ground-breaking, impactful solutions in the world of payments and commerce,” said Salma Ingabire, Visa Country Manager for Uganda.

Ayo Arikawe (left) Co-founder of Thrive Agic receives the winning prize during last year’s VEI final

“Through their technology-driven, innovative solutions, fintechs have the potential to offer broad social benefits to the markets they operate in – particularly when it comes to providing financial services to those who have traditionally been underserved. At Visa, we believe access to the digital economy drives equitable, inclusive growth, and VEI is an important means of supporting the innovators playing a leading role in this space.”

Since its launch in 2015, VEI has helped startups representing more than 100 countries collectively raise more than $16 billion USD in funding, with a network that includes nearly 12,000 startups from across the globe. Last year, VEI awarded more than $530,000 USD in prize money over the course of the competition, which saw over 4,000 startups participate from five regions. VEI 2022 saw Nigeria’s ThriveAgric take home the VEI Global grand prize of $100,000 USD. ThriveAgric also won the $20,000 USD Visa Direct prize.

Finalists from last year’s VEI global final pose for a group photo

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:
What we are looking for
Enablers of digital services and digital issuers
Blockchain and cryptocurrency
BIN sponsors
Program managers
Digital issuance
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 business recovery
Money movement (disbursements, Intra-account, P2P vendor and payments)
Acceptance (e-commerce and mobile acceptance)
Risk management (chargebacks, etc.)
Brand management (Community building, etc.)
New categories for 2023:
Sustainable fintechs
Urban mobility
This year’s prizes
VEI CEMEA Regionals 1st place: $20,000
VEI CEMEA Regionals Audience Favorites: $10,000
VEI CEMEA Regionals Risk Winner: $25,000
The application deadline is May 22nd.
For more information about VEI, please visit our website.

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