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.
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.