ThriveAgric, an innovative start-up that champions technology to transform the payments landscape for smallholder farmers, was crowned winner of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) – a global open innovation program and competition for start-ups and fintech companies.

Taking place in Qatar amidst the FIFA World Cup 2022, the global finale was preceded by a year-long competition that saw entrepreneurs across the world compete in regional editions before advancing to the final stage.

“This year we have seen more than 4,000 fintech participate in the global Visa Everywhere Initiative, including a record 1,130 applications from Central Europe, Middle East and Africa,” said Andrew Torre, Regional President for CEMEA, Visa. “A new fintech generation is transforming the way consumers and businesses make payments, making it easier for more people to access and move money when they need it. We congratulate ThriveAgric and all the winners in this year’s competition, and we look forward to continuing partnering with fintechs to solve the payments challenges of tomorrow”.

Ruben Salazar, Senior Vice President and global head of Visa Direct, said: “As we strive to create more ways for people, SMBs, and larger businesses to participate in the global economy, the VEI competition provides a unique insight on how fintech is helping shape the future of money movement and expanding access to underserved markets and regions. Today’s Visa Direct Award winner will have access to modern tools and teams that help enable global money movement to billions of endpoints worldwide.”

The event brought together Visa and industry thought leaders and a previous Visa Everywhere Initiative winner to celebrate the innovative fintechs and their solutions. Wade Arnold, founder and CEO of Moov Financial and 2021 Visa Everywhere Initiative North America and Global winner returned as a judge, with special guest Visa’s Dr Saeeda Jaffar, Group Country Manager for the GCC region hosting a fireside chat with football legend Marcel Desailly.

Ayo Arikawe, Co-Founder of ThriveAgric and winner of the CEMEA leg of the competition, delivered his pitch on how ThriveAgric is enabling strategic partnerships with financial institutions and agriculture value chain players to provide smallholders with financial services, agriculture inputs, extension, market linkage, e-commerce, and payment services.

“As a central part of the Nigerian economy, agriculture is the livelihood and main source of income for many of our people. The hard work we’ve put into ThriveAgric will ensure that technology is leveraged to empower farmers across the country. To not only win the CEMEA regional VEI competition but also pitch at the final here in Qatar gives me great confidence in our ability to scale our solutions and continue to enrich farmers’ lives,” said Ayo Arikawe.

Award Winners:

  • 1st place: ThriveAgric – a fintech providing smallholder farmers access to finance, insights and distribution
  • 2nd place: Zeti – a fintech enabling pay-per-use financing of sustainable transport
  • Visa Direct prize: ThriveAgric – a fintech providing smallholder farmers access to finance, insights and distribution
  • Audience Favorite: Huli – a platform that connects patients, doctors and other healthcare services