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Visa Everywhere Initiative applications now open to Saudi Arabia fintech startups

Applications are now open for the Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman edition of the 2024 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.
With applications opening until April 22nd , this year’s VEI in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman will see an in-person competition for finalists from all three countries in mid-June in Riyadh. The winner 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 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 29th, 2024.
For fintech participants in Saudi Arabia, this year’s edition of VEI brings back the Impact Prize, which goes to a competitor who has innovated a solution that has a positive social impact on the communities it operates in. Examples include initiatives that boost financial inclusion, promote sustainability, or safeguard the environment. Last year, Saudi-based fintech Lamaa won the Impact Prize for providing SMBs with technological, financially inclusive embedded finance and payment solutions.
This year’s edition also introduces Fintech Innovating in Risk Excellence, or ‘FIIRE’ award which goes to innovative fintech specialized in fraud management, cybersecurity, and credit risk, among others.
“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. We are delighted to bring VEI back again for another year to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman,” said Ali Bailoun, Visa’s Regional GM for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.
“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 in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman – helping them take small but significant steps towards making an impact.”
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 SAR180B ($48 billion USD) in funding. VEI 2023 saw Nigeria’s Drugstock take home the VEI global grand prize of SAR187,500 ($50,000 USD), as well as the Audience Favorite prize of SAR37.500 ($10,000 USD).
What we are looking for
We are looking for products that deliver innovative payment and commerce solutions to consumers and businesses prioritizing fintech startups with the following technologies:
Emerging spaces
• Artificial Intelligence
• Big Data/Open Banking
• Cloud Computing
• Digital identity and Biometrics
• Cybersecurity and Privacy
• Fraud and Risk
• Alternative Finance
• Alternative Lending
• Loyalty of the Future
Money Movers
• Remittance
• P2P and Transfers
• Cross Border Payments
• B2C (Disbursements)
• B2B Payments Orchestration
Enablers (Commerce and Banking)
• Online Marketplaces and Ecommerce
• Embedded Finance
• Core Banking and Bank Enablers
• Fintech Aggregators
• Digital Acceptance
• BaaS
Neo Banks and Brokerages
• Neo Banks/Digital Banks
• MNOs
• Digital Brokerages
• Digital Wallets
Lending
• Commercial Lending
• BNPL
• Consumer Lending
• Capital Providers
Social, Creator, and Gaming
• Creator Platforms and Services
• NFT Marketplaces
• Collectables
• Gaming Wallets and Tokenization
• In Game payments and transactions
• Gig Economy Enabler
Other categories for 2024
• Sustainable fintechs
• Risk
Prizes
Monetary prizes will be awarded at the regional and global competitions:
• VEI Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman 1st place: SAR150,000 ($40,000 USD)
• VEI Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman 2nd place: SAR100,000 ($26,600 USD)
• VEI Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman 3rd place: SAR50,000 ($13,300USD)
• VEI Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman Impact Award: SAR37,500 ($10,000 USD)
• VEI Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman Risk FIRE Prize: SAR94,000 ($25,000 USD)
• VEI CEMEA Regionals 1st place: SAR75,000 ($20,000 USD)
• VEI CEMEA Regionals Audience Favorites: SAR37,500 ($10,000 USD)
• VEI Global Finals 1st Place: SAR375,000 ($100,000 USD)
• VEI Global Finals Audience Favorite: SAR75,000 ($20,000 USD)

The application deadline for VEI Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman is April 22nd. For more information about VEI, please visit https://sa.visamiddleeast.com/en_SA/visa-everywhere/everywhere-initiative/initiative.html

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