EBRD opens information technology hubs in Georgia and Azerbaijan
Applications open in Georgia for Visa Everywhere Initiative, a global innovation competition for fintech startups
- Visa Everywhere Initiative tasks startups with solving today’s most pressing payments and commerce challenges, with monetary prizes, global exposure, and validation from one of the world’s most trusted brands
Georgia, 20 April 2023: Applications are now open in Georgia for the 2023 edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation competition that sees startups pitch their innovative solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges.
In addition to monetary prizes, VEI winners gain access and exposure to Visa’s vast networks of partners in the banking, merchant, VC, and government sectors. The winners also benefit from receiving recognition from one of the world’s most trusted and valuable brands.
The Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) finals will be livestreamed on July 27 on TechCrunch – a leading online publisher focused on the tech industry and the startup ecosystem. The startup that wins at the CEMEA Regionals will participate in the global finale, which will be held on September 19 at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
This year, Visa's VEI CEMEA is set to introduce for the first time an award in the Risk and Security domain - Fintechs Innovating in Risk Excellence, or ‘FIIRE’, Award. Through this Special Edition, Visa in partnership with Emirates NBD are scouting for global Fintech players across fraud management, cybersecurity, and credit risk, among others. Following a joint review by Visa and Emirates NBD representatives, the winning Fintech will receive a $25,000 prize and an opportunity to work with Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the region.
“The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a platform that empowers fintechs and entrepreneurs to showcase the most ground-breaking, impactful solutions in the world of payments and commerce,” said Diana Kiguradze, Visa Regional Manager for the Caucasus “Through their technology-driven, innovative solutions, fintechs have the potential to offer broad social benefits to the markets they operate in – particularly when it comes to providing financial services to those who have traditionally been underserved. At Visa, we believe access to the digital economy drives equitable, inclusive growth, and VEI is an important means of supporting the innovators playing a leading role in this space.”
Since its launch in 2015, VEI has helped startups representing more than 100 countries collectively raise more than $16 billion USD in funding, with a network that includes nearly 12,000 startups from across the globe. Last year, VEI awarded more than $530,000 USD in prize money over the course of the competition, which saw over 4,000 startups participate from five regions. VEI 2022 saw Nigeria’s ThriveAgric take home the VEI Global grand prize of $100,000 USD. ThriveAgric also won the $20,000 USD Visa Direct prize. In 2021, PAYZE of Georgia became the winner for the CEMEA region, for representing the best innovative payment and commerce solutions to solve the payment challenges of tomorrow.
VEI is seeking innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs who are uplifting communities by solving payment and commerce challenges faced by businesses of all sizes and sectors, including:
What we are looking for
Enablers of digital services and digital issuers
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency
- BIN sponsors
- Program managers
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency
- Alternative lending
- Personal financial management
- Money transfer and remittance
- Digital banking (aka neo banks)
- Digital wallets, peer-to-peer (P2P) and transfers
- Employee benefits
- Corporate cards (aka expense management)
Value-add for merchants and/or consumers in the finance space
- Data and analytics
- ID, authentication and security
- Merchant services and tools
- Process and payment infrastructure
- Retail technology
Small- and medium-sized business recovery
- Money movement (disbursements, Intra-account, P2P vendor and payments)
- Acceptance (e-commerce and mobile acceptance)
- Risk management (chargebacks, etc.)
- Brand management (Community building, etc.)
New categories for 2023:
- Sustainable fintechs
- Urban mobility
This year’s prizes
- VEI CEMEA Regionals 1st place: $20,000
- VEI CEMEA Regionals Audience Favorites: $10,000
- VEI CEMEA Regionals Risk Winner: $25,000
Global Finals awards and cash prizes
- VEI Global Overall Winner: $50,000 USD
- VEI Global Audience Favorite: $10,000 USD
- VEI Global – Visa Direct: $10,000 USD
- Additionally, all 5 finalists will be able to exhibit their companies at the TechCrunch Disrupt in a branded pavilion in the Expo Hall.
The overall winner and the Visa Direct winner are also eligible to win the Audience Favorite prize.
The application deadline for VEI Georgia is May 14th.
For more information about VEI, please visit our website.
Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating payments transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at visa.com.ge
Georgia: EBRD to help improve solid waste management in Kobuleti and Batumi
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is committing new funds to address solid waste treatment issues in Batumi and the wider Adjara region in Georgia. A sovereign loan of up to €19 million for Adjara Waste Management Company will help tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges faced by the tourist region’s inhabitants and visitors.
The first committed tranche of up to €3 million will be used to purchase new solid waste management equipment. This will enable the borrower to start new landfill operations and, consequently, stop waste being disposed of at the current non-European Union (EU) compliant dumpsites. The second uncommitted tranche of up to €16 million will be used to build a new waste treatment plant, allowing the company to recover recyclables and divert waste sent to the new sanitary landfill.
The investment will address the priority needs of Batumi and the wider Adjara region. This includes stopping the disposal of waste at existing dumpsites in Kobuleti and Batumi, with the latter being the largest and most dangerous polluter in Georgia. “These dumpsites are active sources of land, water and air pollution, impacting the ecosystem of the region in particular, and the Black Sea in general,” says EBRD.
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EBRD to support upgrade of up to 12 metro stations in Tbilisi
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide Tbilisi Transport Company with a loan of up to €50.6 million for financing the upgrade of up to 12 metro stations.
The agreement was signed on 17 January in the Georgian capital during a visit by Mark Bowman, vice President for Policy and Partnerships at the EBRD.
The new loan is a continuation of a broader effort, some of which aims to encourage people to switch from private to public transport. Improved lighting and ventilation and more energy-efficient escalators will improve the daily journeys of Tbilisians, while an overhaul of drainage systems will make the network more resilient to climate change.
With a population of 1.2 million, Tbilisi was one of the first cities to join the EBRD’s flagship Green Cities programme, which supports members in addressing their environmental challenges through sustainable investments and policies. The city was also one of the first to develop a Green City Action Plan (GCAP).
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Georgia Receives Around €55.6 Million from EBRD to Modernize Metropolitan Transport in Tbilisi
Agreements were signed today by and between Georgia and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) envisaging the modernization of metropolitan transport in Tbilisi.
Loan and Grant Agreements were signed by H.E. Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia and Mark Bowman, EBRD Vice President for Policy and Partnerships during his working visit to Georgia held within the scope of a Caucasus Tour.
Financial resources in the volume of around 55.6 million Euros will be used for the rehabilitation of underground metropolitan stations in Tbilisi and refurbishment of escalators.
Project will be implemented by the Mayor’s Office in the Municipality of Tbilisi through Tbilisi Transport Company (TTC).
Mark Bowman, EBRD Vice President for Policy and Partnerships is visiting Georgia together with Matteo Patrone, EBRD Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus (EEC).
This visit was preceded by a series of meetings held by H.E. Odile Renaud-Basso, EBRD President in Tbilisi in September 2022.
The current visit aims to review the upcoming projects of EBRD to be implemented both in the private and public sectors of the country.
Top EBRD officials to visit Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Vice President for Policy and Partnerships Mark Bowman and Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Matteo Patrone will tour the Caucasus from 16 to 19 January, first visiting Armenia, then Georgia, before concluding their trip in Azerbaijan.
The purpose of the trip is to discuss upcoming projects in both the private but also public sectors. Discussions on financial resilience, policy reform and the preparation for the Bank’s upcoming new country strategies are also on the agenda.
The visit follows EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso’s recent tour of the Caucasus in September.
In all three countries, the delegation will meet the political leadership, diplomats, international development partners, leaders of the business community and the Bank’s existing partners.
While in Tbilisi, Mark Bowman is also expected to sign a sovereign loan agreement with the Ministry of Finance of Georgia for the rehabilitation and upgrade of up to 12 metro stations in the capital.
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