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'SAMENA Daily' - News

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

Applications are now open in Jordan for the 2024 edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation program and competition that sees fintech startups pitch their solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges.

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

In a move aimed at supporting regional fintechs, Visa is holding a Levant edition of the VEI for the first time this year which is being launched in Jordan with the endorsement of the Central Bank of Jordan. Applications open on March 26, 2024 and close on April 22, 2024. The Levant edition is open for applicants from Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, and shortlisted fintechs will be invited to the finals event in Jordan during an in-person competition on June 2, 2024. The winner of the Levant VEI edition will progress to a virtual Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) competition on July 17, 2024. The startup that wins at the CEMEA finale will participate in the global finale – competing against winners from Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and North America – at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco on October 29, 2024.

“The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a powerful platform that empowers and uplifts fintechs and entrepreneurs to showcase the most ground-breaking, impactful solutions solving tomorrow’s challenges in the world of payments and commerce,” said Mario Makary, Vice President, Levant Cluster Country Manager, Visa.

“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 growth journey of fintechs – helping them take small but significant steps towards making an impact.”

"As the financial landscape continues to evolve, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in fintech is paramount for driving economic growth and financial inclusion. The Visa Everywhere Initiative presents a unique opportunity for startups in the Levant region to showcase their ingenuity and address pressing challenges in financial sector including payments and ecommerce. We commend Visa for spearheading this initiative and are pleased to endorse the Levant edition of VEI. By supporting the development of fintech solutions, we aim to create a more inclusive and resilient financial ecosystem, ultimately benefiting individuals and businesses across our region," said H.E Dr. Adel Alshrkas, Governor of Central Bank of Jordan.

"We warmly welcome the launch of the Visa Everywhere Initiative in Jordan and commend Visa for their commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in our region. This initiative aligns seamlessly with the general directions of the Economic Modernization Vision 2033 and the priorities of our Fintech Vision, which prioritizes the advancement of technology and digitalization across various sectors. By providing a platform for fintech startups to develop and showcase their solutions, the Visa Everywhere Initiative contributes to the realization of our economic goals by encouraging the adoption of innovative technologies and promoting a culture of entrepreneurship. We are confident that this initiative will not only spur growth and competitiveness in our financial sector but also accelerate the pace of digital transformation, ultimately enhancing the resilience and inclusivity of our economy."

The program first launched in the US in 2015 and quickly expanded into a global program. To date, nearly 15,000 startups have participated, and have collectively raised over $48 billion in funding. VEI 2023 saw Nigeria’s Drugstock take home the VEI global grand prize of $50,000, as well as the Audience Favorite prize of $10,000.