Georgia, 19 April 2023: Applications are now open in Georgia 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.
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.
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 Diana Kiguradze, Visa Regional Manager for the Caucasus “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. In 2021, PAYZE of Georgia became the winner for the CEMEA region, for representing the best innovative payment and commerce solutions to solve the payment challenges of tomorrow.
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
- 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
Global Finals awards and cash prizes
- VEI Global Overall Winner: $50,000 USD
- VEI Global Audience Favorite: $10,000 USD
- VEI Global – Visa Direct: $10,000 USD
- Additionally, all 5 finalists will be able to exhibit their companies at the TechCrunch Disrupt in a branded pavilion in the Expo Hall.
The overall winner and the Visa Direct winner are also eligible to win the Audience Favorite prize.
The application deadline for VEI Georgia is May 14th.
For more information about VEI, please visit our website.