The Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) finals of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) recently took place, showcasing innovative start-ups and fintech companies from various markets. Among the winners, Nigerian-based Drugstoc emerged as the overall champion, while Kenyan start-up Aifluence secured the prestigious Audience Favorite award.
Drugstoc, a forward-thinking start-up committed to improving the distribution and accessibility of medical supplies and services, was crowned the winner of the CEMEA edition of VEI. By providing efficient supply chain management, financial solutions, and product knowledge, Drugstoc aims to enhance access to healthcare in emerging markets. The victory earned them a well-deserved $20,000 USD 1st place prize and a chance to compete against other Visa regional champions from North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific at the VEI Global Finals.
The global finals are scheduled to take place on September 19th during TechCrunch’s renowned Disrupt conference in San Francisco. This exciting opportunity will allow Drugstoc to showcase its comprehensive digital platform on a global stage and gain invaluable exposure to key fintech stakeholders across various sectors, including banking, merchants, venture capital, and governments.
While Drugstoc claimed the top prize, the CEMEA Regional Finals also recognized Aifluence, a Kenyan start-up that impressed audiences with its proprietary technology-driven advertising platform. Aifluence specializes in identifying trusted voices to engage, nurture, and activate the right audience for global brands, thereby accelerating customer acquisition and growth. As the recipient of the Audience Favorite award, Aifluence earned $10,000 to add to their VEI Kenya final award.
Expressing his delight, Nelson Aseka, CEO of Aifluence, stated, “I am very honored and humbled to be named as the audience favorite at this year’s VEI CEMEA finals, and I’m grateful to the audience for this award. This is a happy moment for us to share together. Thank you to Visa for the opportunity.”
The Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) is a global open innovation program and competition that seeks to recognize and support the most promising start-ups and fintech companies worldwide. By offering equity-free cash prizes and a chance to showcase their solutions on a global stage with TechCrunch, Visa aims to encourage innovation and uplift the world of payments and commerce.
Otto Williams, Senior Vice President and Head of Product, Partnership, and Digital Solutions at Visa CEMEA, highlighted the importance of fintechs and payment innovators in shaping the future of how consumers and businesses make payments. He congratulated Drugstoc for their victory and applauded all the participants for their impressive projects in this year’s competition. Williams wished Drugstoc the best of luck as they gear up to compete in the VEI Global Finals.