SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Visa (NYSE:V) recently hosted the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI): Women’s Global Edition, marking the first time the program has focused on organizations with at least one woman founder or co-founder from around the world who are changing the world by solving business and social challenges.
The new global competition spotlighted the underrepresented millions of women business and social impact leaders, tasking them to solve a FinTech and – for the first time – a Social Impact challenge for a chance to win $100,000 per challenge along with mentorship, access to Visa products and programs, and exposure to key participants in the commerce ecosystem. Nearly 1,300 applicants applied to participate in the program.
Just before the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ kick-off, 12 finalists from six regions pitched their innovative solutions to a panel of judges. Two finalists, Tez Financial Services from Pakistan, represented by its co-founder and business head, Naureen Hyat, and Green Girls Organization from Cameroon, represented by its founder, Monique Ntumngia, were selected as the winners of the FinTech and Social Impact challenges, respectively.
“As the worldwide rate of female entrepreneurship continues to rise, Visa is giving a voice to the collective strength of women who are creating impact in the global economy, spinning the fly wheel of innovation from the bottom up – and we will continue to do so through investments and partnerships that enable women-founded businesses to thrive,” said Marianne Mwaniki, Senior Vice President of Social Impact at Visa. “All of the finalists in this global Visa Everywhere Initiative are testaments to how diverse, women-owned businesses can grow, uplifting economies in communities across the globe, and we intend to provide them a platform to create connections and opportunities to succeed.”
The Women’s Global Edition is an extension of the established VEI program, and reflects Visa’s commitment to investment in women entrepreneurs. Since the inception of the VEI in 2015, more than 6,000 startups have participated in 24 innovation programs and have collectively raised more than $2.5 billion in funding. This year, Visa expanded the competition to include a global challenge for organizations with at least one woman founder to submit solutions that tackle the vast societal and business challenges facing social impact landscapes.
The FinTech competition measured how applicants leveraged their companies’ unique ability to solve or transform consumer and/or commercial payment experiences locally, regionally or globally. The FinTech winner Tez Financial Services from Pakistan, represented by Naureen Hyat, is the first fully digital financial institution in Pakistan providing frictionless financial services to the unbanked and under-banked via a smartphone application.
“The Visa Everywhere Initiative has been a remarkable opportunity for Tez, Pakistan and our cause to enhance financial inclusion,” said Naureen Hyat, Co-founder and Business Head of Tez Financial Services. “It has not only served as a driver for growth but has also allowed us to tap into the connectivity and numerous partners at Visa. I’m honored to be a part of such a thriving group of women entrepreneurs. All of these finalists have already achieved so much – I’m excited to continue to be a witness to our growth collectively beyond this competition.”
The Social Impact Challenge sought women-led businesses around the world who are supporting sustainable and inclusive livelihoods and strengthening their local or regional economies. The Social Impact winner Green Girls Organization from Cameroon, represented by Monique Ntumngia, is a non-governmental organization that trains women and girls to harvest and create renewable energy from the sun and bio-waste.
“This opportunity will allow Green Girls to reach more women and girls and expand our footprint to provide renewable energy,” said Monique Ntumngia, Founder of Green Girls Organization. “Visa’s network and support will not only help my organization scale but will provide a number of rural African communities sustainable energy sources from the sun and bio-waste – creating a ripple effect of impact.”
In addition to Green Girls and Tez, the following entrepreneurs competed for the two top prizes:
- WeCashUp of France, represented by Annicelle Kungne, is the largest Pan African payment gateway that enables eCommerce companies to accept mobile money, cash and cards online in 36 African countries.
- Papaya Global of Europe, represented by Eynat Guez, is a SaaS platform that supports total workforce management (payroll, PEO, and contractor management) along with benefits and a full cross-border payments solution in over 100 countries.
- DinDin of Latin America, represented by Stéphanie Fleury, provides basic financial services to the unbanked and underbanked individuals and businesses in Brazil, through their app, web-based internet banking and API platforms. Their goal is to promote financial inclusion to more than 115 million people through their B2B2C financial ecosystem.
- PoshVine of Asia Pacific, represented by Garima Satija, helps financial services organizations increase customer loyalty and share of spends through contextual, personalized perks and rewards administration. They are building a coalition customer loyalty program through their network of more than 15,000 merchant partners whereby users can earn and easily redeem points using linked debit or credit cards.
- Alloy of North America, represented by Laura Spiekerman, provides real-time identity and risk decisioning for financial services, including KYC/AML and fraud checks.
Social Impact Finalists:
- Isahit of France, represented by Isabelle Mashola, is an innovative, socially responsible and intelligent platform that links workers in socio-economically disadvantaged countries of Africa with French companies seeking to outsource digital tasks.
- Grow.ly of Europe, represented by Mireia Badia, is a P2B lending platform that connects small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) that need loans with investors that want to get a higher return on their savings. Grow.ly helps Spanish SMEs grow and develop, reducing their dependency on banks, giving them access to financing and generating growth and development.
- Mujeres Del Pacífico of Latin America, represented by Fernanda Vicente, is one of the largest communities of entrepreneurs in Latin America. They have worked with more than 15,000 entrepreneurs in various countries and industries, supporting, connecting and training them.
- Zigway of Asia Pacific, represented by Miranda Phua, helps low-income families get out of debt with a mobile application to access inexpensive, flexible “Nano Loans” via mobile-phones utilizing a fully-automated process.
- NeedsList of North America, represented by Amanda Levinson, is a real-time needs registry for crisis response. NeedsList’s open marketplace increases community resilience, transparency and collaboration in crisis relief by tracking and predicting needs in real-time before, during, and after a disaster.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, visa.com/blog and @VisaNews.