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Visa to launch global innovation programmme 'VEI' in Levant region for first time in June

By Ilham Darwazeh - Apr 22,2024 - Last updated at Apr 25,2024

Photo of Mario Makary vice president, Levant cluster country manager of Visa

AMMAN — Giant multinational payment card services, Visa, will launch its "Visa Everywhere Initiative" (VEI) on June 2 for first time in the Levant region and hosted in Amman.

In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, Mario Makary vice president, Levant cluster country manager of Visa, said, "Hopefully we will have applicants from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine applying throughout the process to compete for the final result."

Mario said that the initiative allows "fintechs, startup and entrepreneurs to compete by show-casing the solutions, products that could be bringing value to solve future payment challenges and commerce challenges.

Successful applicants would have business traction in the market with some sort of funding from external investors, he said. 

"The reason for conducting the VEI in the Levant is due to the market where we have seen a lot of startups, fintech and entrepreneurs."

"Visa is trying to develop solutions that are relevant to the payment eco-system, and in our core believes that we want to help economies to thrive, and help people also to thrive, looking at those players who can come and positively impact how people do commerce, how can we convert more people into digital economy and how can we transform economies to become more inclusive, these were the main kind of drivers for us."

The six categories for this year are emerging spaces, money movers, enablers whether commerce or banking, neo banks and brokerages, and lending, in addition to social, creator, and gaming and the other new categories for 2024 are  sustainable fintechs, and risk, the Visa website said.  

The judges of VEI are subject-matter experts from visa, with different backgrounds from venture capitals, banking sector, regulators, incubators, accelerators with a deep understanding and exposure on the startup and entrepreneur world.

Makary said, "The first winner is going has $30,000 cash price, free of equity, the second winner will have $15,000, and the third winner will have $10,000. These three winners will be chosen by the judges, the fourth winner is gonna be the people's or audience's choice, and the winner will get $10,000 cash prize, free of equity."

After this phase, the first winner will be qualified for the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) competition which will happen later in July.

"So whoever wins in the CEMEA, and if it happen to be from our Levant applicant is going go to the final global competition which is going happen in San Francisco later in October 2024," he added. 

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