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Innovative fintech and payments startups from Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been invited to the Visa Everywhere (VEI) 2022 initiative.

The global platform will give participants the opportunity to showcase their products and innovations to a wider audience and also have the chance to win $45,000 in prizes.

Contest winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to partner with a trusted global brand like Visa.

This year’s program has expanded to include startups that use cryptocurrency and Visa Direct, a payment solution that can help businesses move money to billions of endpoints around the world via card and account rails, in an innovative way.

Finalists from around the world driving economic growth will converge in Qatar in November for the VEI Finals.

“Fintech and other payments innovators are transforming the way consumers and businesses make payments, making it easier for more people to access the money they need when they need it – and the pandemic has seen this become more critical than ever,” said Kemi Okusanya, Vice President, Visa West Africa.

“Competing on the global stage alongside some of the most prestigious startups in the world and, more importantly, being able to benefit from this global exposure and the support of a trusted brand like Visa has been a tremendous achievement for PAYZE,” said said Giorgi Tsurtsumia, co-founder and co-CEO of PAYZE as well as VEI CEMEA 2021 winner.

PAYZE is an e-commerce-focused fintech that enables businesses in CIS countries to accept payments from around the world through a single integration. With support from Visa’s network and a cash prize of $25,000, the PAYZE team is busy achieving their vision, having processed over 250,000 transactions in 2021.

The competition also saw Karachi-based fintech Safepay win the CEMEA Public Favorite award and $10,000 in prize money. Safepay specializes in secure payment processing for e-commerce stores and helps merchants increase payment conversions, accelerate receivables and streamline sales by enabling their customers to pay online.

The VEI network includes 8,500 startups from around the world, which continues to grow every year. Since its launch in 2015, the program has helped startups from more than 100 countries collectively raise more than $2.5 billion in funding, addressing one of the biggest challenges facing start-up entrepreneurs.

Each year, VEI’s reach is expanded to engage with unique startups and solve unique problems in the world of payments.

This year, the program will have a clear focus on Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), a region offering huge opportunities for fintechs developing innovative products and solutions aimed at supporting the community. The latest edition of VEI sees two new editions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the World Final in Qatar in November 2022.

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