Visa Everywhere Initiative applications now open to Kuwait fintech startups

  • Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) tasks fintech 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.
  • Since launching in 2015, VEI has helped more than 15,000 startups from over 100 countries collectively secure more than KD14.8B ($48B USD) in funding.
  • For the first time, Visa launches dedicated VEI for fintechs in both Kuwait and Qatar.

Kuwait City, Kuwait, 1 April 2024: Applications are now open for the Kuwait and Qatar edition of the 2024 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation program and competition that sees fintech startups pitch their solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges. 

In addition to equity-free funding, VEI winners gain access and exposure to Visa’s vast networks of partners in the banking, merchant, venture capital, and government sectors. The winners also benefit from receiving recognition from one of the world’s most trusted and valuable brands. 

With applications open until April 29th, this year’s Kuwait and Qatar edition of VEI will see an in-person competition for finalists from both countries on June 13th in Doha. The winner will progress to a virtual Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) competition on July 17. The startup that wins at the CEMEA finale will participate in the global finale — competing against winners from Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and North America — at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco on October 29th, 2024. 

For fintech participants in Kuwait, this year’s edition of VEI features the Impact Prize, which goes to a competitor who has innovated a solution that has a positive social impact on the communities it operates in. Examples include initiatives that boost financial inclusion, promote sustainability, or safeguard the environment. 

“The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a powerful platform that empowers and uplifts fintechs and entrepreneurs to showcase the most ground-breaking, impactful solutions solving tomorrow’s challenges in the world of payments and commerce. We are delighted to bring it VEI for the first time ever to fintechs in Kuwait and Qatar,” said Shashank Singh, Visa’s Vice President and General Manager for Kuwait and Qatar. 

“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 growth journey of fintechs in Kuwait and Qatar — helping them take small but significant steps towards making an impact.”

The program first launched in the US in 2015 and quickly expanded into a global program. To date, nearly 15,000 startups have participated, and have collectively raised over KD14.8B ($48 billion USD) in funding. VEI 2023 saw Nigeria’s Drugstock take home the VEI global grand prize of KD15,400 ($50,000 USD), as well as the Audience Favorite prize of KD3,000 ($10,000 USD).

What we are looking for

We are looking for products that deliver innovative payment and commerce solutions to consumers and businesses prioritizing fintech startups with the following technologies:

Emerging spaces

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Data/Open Banking
  • Cloud Computing
  • Digital identity and Biometrics
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy
  • Fraud and Risk
  • Alternative Finance
  • Alternative Lending
  • Loyalty of the Future

Money Movers

  • Remittance
  • P2P and Transfers
  • Cross Border Payments
  • B2C (Disbursements)
  • B2B Payments Orchestration

Enablers (Commerce and Banking)

  • Online Marketplaces and Ecommerce
  • Embedded Finance
  • Core Banking and Bank Enablers
  • Fintech Aggregators
  • Digital Acceptance
  • BaaS

Neo Banks and Brokerages

  • Neo Banks/Digital Banks
  • MNOs
  • Digital Brokerages
  • Digital Wallets


  • Commercial Lending
  • BNPL
  • Consumer Lending
  • Capital Providers

Social, Creator, and Gaming

  • Creator Platforms and Services
  • NFT Marketplaces
  • Collectables
  • Gaming Wallets and Tokenization
  • In Game payments and transactions
  • Gig Economy Enabler

Other categories for 2024

  • Sustainable fintechs
  • Risk


Monetary prizes will be awarded at the regional and global competitions:

  • VEI Kuwait and Qatar 1st place: KD12,300 ($40,000 USD)
  • VEI Kuwait and Qatar 2nd place: KD7,700 ($25,000 USD)
  • VEI Kuwait and Qatar 3rd place: KD4,600 ($15,000USD)
  • VEI Kuwait and Qatar Impact Award: KD3,000 ($10,000 USD)
  • VEI Kuwait and Qatar Audience Favorite Award: KD3,000 ($10,000 USD)
  • VEI CEMEA Regionals 1st place: KD6,000 ($20,000 USD)
  • VEI CEMEA Regionals Audience Favorites: KD3,000 ($10,000 USD)
  • VEI Global Finals 1st Place: KD30,800 ($100,000 USD)
  • VEI Global Finals Audience Favorite: KD6,000 ($20,000 USD)

The application deadline for VEI Kuwait and Qatar is April 29th. For more information about VEI, please visit