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Access to local innovation — this has been a key driver of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), where the global payments processor has spent the last three years working with fintech companies to develop cutting-edge products.
Says Visa sub-Sahara Africa senior director for digital solutions Geraldine Mitchley (pictured above): “The highlight of the programme, the great thing is it has opened us up to local innovation”.
The programme was first launched in the US in 2015, and then rolled out to Europe, Asia, Middle East and North Africa as well as Latin America last year. This year it is running in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time.
Successful applicants can clinch up to $50 000 (a $25 000 prize and potentially up to $25 000 in pilot funding), plus the potential opportunity to work with Visa.
“To some extent the reality is that Visa always kind of sat behind very protective high walls, before open API’s and evolution of the sharing economy,” says Mitchley.
‘Reaching out to startup community’
She says the real value of the initiative, which she describes as a reach out to developers and startup community, “has been to see how local solutions are being built”.
Under the Visa Everywhere Initiative, selected fintech startups stand to win up to $50 000 in funding, as well as a chance to work with Visa
She adds that there are many great entrepreneurs who are solving real-world consumer or business pain points and that they may not be aware of how enabling and accessible Visa’s capabilities are.
Participants stand to gain access to the company’s APIs as well as support and mentorship from Visa’s executive mentors. The competition is designed to harness innovation within the startup community and beyond, as the payments industry shifts from plastic to digital.
“In a highly dynamic industry we are constantly looking at and testing new ideas, and Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is an important way for Visa to partner with innovative startups and bring in fresh thinking,” she says.
“We’re excited to expand this competition to include Europe in 2017, opening the door for even more innovative ideas and people to help solve real-world consumer or business pain points,” adds Mitchley
Challenge brief data driven
“We connect with the fintech networks across Africa, and want to support a number of ideas aimed at solving business challenges, influencing product road maps, supporting customers, and shaping a culture of home grown innovation,” she explains.
Visa’s ideal fintech startup?
What kind of startup is Visa looking to work with?
Mitchley says when evaluating submissions for VEI, Visa looks for startups that have ideas relevant to the company’s business, a product in market, traction with early customers, and early funding from external investors.
Think your startup has a unique local fintech solution that Visa is looking for? Then you have until 31 May to submit your solution to one of the three VEI challenges. Have any questions, comments or feedback around the initiative? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was sponsored by Visa.
Featured image: Visa Sub-Sahara Africa senior director for digital solutions Geraldine Mitchley (Supplied)