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Visa Everywhere Initiative to disperse US$50,000 among startups that help SMEs

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Visa and Finnovista have teamed up to launch the fourth edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

This time around, Visa is looking for startups that offer solutions that can help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) take the path to economic recovery. Likewise, judges want applicants that can improve people’s experience on public transport. These topics constitute the two challenges for this year’s edition of the competition.

The first place will earn US$25,000. Second and third place will respectively win US$15,000 and US$10,000. The deadline to apply is June 30.

Visa Everywhere Initiative and SMEs

Coronavirus has exposed the vulnerability of SMEs’ operations. Examples include excessive use of cash as well as reliance on brick-and-mortar shops. These practices greatly hurt business owners as consumers self-isolated.

Though this isn’t just a matter of perception. A recent survey by Visa further emphasized these weak points.

According to its findings, 83 percent of SMEs in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia experienced less business since the pandemic started. Owners’ biggest concerns by order of urgency were making payroll, paying rent, followed by paying the mortgage on their business.

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This survey also revealed just how digitized businesses are. 

The results showed that many businesses use online banking solutions  (87 percent) as well as social media (97 percent). Nonetheless, just a third of people use electronic payment processors and only 20 percent of small-sized vendors have an e-business.

In light of all of this, SMEs are a core issue for Visa Everywhere Initiative 2020.

Public transport needs a hand

Right off the bat it’s important to remember that public transport in Latin America is usually: 1) insufficient to satisfy demand, and 2) low quality.

So Visa wants startups that can make the use of public transport a better experience for riders. Likewise, micro-mobility, ticketing, and payment management are other areas that require innovative solutions.

To that end, Visa is looking for startups working primarily with biometrics, internet of things (IoT), mobile payment infrastructure, among others.

Startups interested in participating in the competition must have operations in the region and are looking to scale. If you’re interested in reading the competition’s terms and conditions, check out this page.

You can sign up here.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Mexico!

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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