The Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) has officially opened applications for its 2024 innovation program and competition. The global competition will see fintech startups pitch their solutions to solve future payment and commerce challenges.

Applicants stand a chance to win equity-free funding and gain access to Visa’s partner networks in the banking, merchant, venture capital, and government sectors. Winners will also benefit from receiving recognition from one of the world’s most trusted and valuable brands.

Applications are currently open and will close on 6th May, 2024. Successful applicants will progress to a virtual Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) competition on July 17th. The startup that wins at the CEMEA final will participate in the global finale at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, USA, on October 29th, 2024.

Products that deliver innovative payment and commerce solutions to consumers and businesses prioritizing fintech startups are encouraged to apply.

For the competition, monetary prizes will be awarded at the regional and global competitions. VEI CEMEA Regionals first place contestants will receive Ksh 2.6 million (USD 20,000), while VEI CEMEA Regionals audience favorites will receive Ksh 1.3 million (USD 10,000).

Speaking on the competition, Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Country Manager Visa Kenya commented, “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.”

The VEI 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 USD 48 billion in funding.

Last year, Kenyan startup AiFluence won the Audience Favorite award at the CEMEA regional finals, taking home a prize of Ksh 1.3 million (USD 10,000). This was in addition to the Ksh 2.6 million (USD 20,000) they had received prior for winning the Kenya in-country edition.