A Kenyan startup won the overall prize of the first ever Sub-Saharan Africa edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative. It’s a contest to solve commerce problems of today and tomorrow.
The challenge was for innovative startups in the continent to improve digital finance for both buyers and sellers. Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) made the call for application back in March, and 238 submissions were received.
From these, 11 finalists were selected for the opportunity to share their ideas with the world. Visa committed to working with the winning concepts, as Sunny Walia, General Manager Visa East Africa, put it.
“Visa is proud to play its part in Africa by enabling a smart economy powered by secure digital payments. This vision comes to life when we can collaborate with passionate minds and foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem where innovators can thrive.”
Kenyan startup, Mookh Africa won the Social Business Payment Challenge category, plus the overall price. It developed a means for businesses in fast-paced environments to receive payments via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This won the Kenyan startup the grand prize of sh.5 million ($50,000).
There were two other categories, each with a sh.2.5 million ($25,000) reward. Financial Inclusion Challenge was for services that enhanced the confidence of illiterate customers in the banking system. Merchants Payment Challenge was for services that enable small businesses reduce cash-on-delivery. Nigeria startups, Zowasel and CredPal respectively, emerged winners.
Geraldine Mitchley, Senior Director Digital Solutions, Visa Sub-Saharan Africa had praise for all Visa Everywhere Initiative participants. “We have had the privilege of working with some of the best minds in the region over the last few months and the selected three category winners have the potential to truly change the way people pay in the region.
“We congratulate Mookh Africa, CredPal, and Zowasel and thank all the finalists for participating in the Everywhere Initiative.”
Visa Everywhere Initiative is a global program that was launched in 2015. Managing Director, Accenture Digital Financial Services, Carmen Whatley expressed her delight that it finally landed in Africa.
“VEI is a very powerful initiative. Africa is always made to feel like the lost continent and today we saw what is coming out of the continent. It was mind-blowing and a reminder that good ideas are everywhere.”