ADDIS ABABA – Visa, the global leader in payments technology, announced on Thursday the launch of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) that tasks Ethiopian startups to solve payments and commerce challenges for clients and customers everywhere.
VEI is a leading global innovation program for identifying and collaborating with fintechs to produce cutting-edge solutions to digital payment challenges, in addition to enhancing their product propositions and providing visionary payment solutions for Visa’s vast network of partners.
This year, the focus is on expansion and accessibility, with Visa offering a one-stop experience to register and learn about upcoming opportunities and competitions, the company said.
The fintechs, both startups and later-stage, enrolling for the program will work on themes that address the roadblocks to higher adoption of digital payments in Ethiopia,
These range from growing digital payment awareness and usage beyond metros to increasing access to credit or scaling commercial payments, the company said.
Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for Visa in Sub Saharan Africa, said Ethiopia “is steadily making strides in building an ecosystem that aids fintechs”.
“Recognizing fintechs as a force for innovation is core to our business and supporting companies across the globe who are building solutions that power seamless money movement everywhere is a top priority for Visa,” Senior Vice President said.
“Through the Visa Everywhere Initiative, we seek to empower promising Ethiopian fintechs that aim to make a difference to the way Ethiopia pays,” Diarra continued.
“Payment innovation in Ethiopia is accelerating and we believe that providing a platform to, and collaborating with, fintechs through the VEI will help bring solutions to the market that enhance the consumer and merchant payment experiences of tomorrow.”
Visa will be accepting applications for the Visa Everywhere Initiative from eligible startups online its online starting today until April 9, 2021.
Startups will pitch their ideas in regional competitions to a panel of expert judges from across the payments industry, and the winners of each competition will be invited to compete first on a CEMEA stage to win a combined $25,000 in total prize.
Then proceed to compete on a global stage to win $100,000 in total prize money. The finalists will be announced on May10, 2021.
Abebe Girmay, Country Manager of Visa Ethiopia, is excited to kickstart the VEI 2021 program in Ethiopia.
“The initiative not only leads to higher visibility for the Financial technology sector, but also offers the innovators access to Visa’s assets and mentorship to drive payments and commerce in the country,” Abebe said.
Since its inception in the US in 2015, VEI has expanded into a global platform with more than 6000+ participating startups, that have collectively raised over $2.5+ billion in funding, with more than 215 finalists and nearly 100 winners.
The program has been rolled out in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa, touching over 100 countries.