GamerG from Jordan wins first place at 2024 Inaugural Edition of Levant Visa Everywhere Initiative Finals in Jordan

  • Visa, in partnership with Central Bank of Jordan, announces the first winners of Visa Everywhere Initiative at a ceremony held in Amman, Jordan
  • eDamana from Jordan emerges as second prize winner and Simma from Iraq as third respectively 
  • GamerG  from Jordan wins People’s Favorite Award, as voted by public
  • Winners receive $30,000 (1st place), $15,000 (2nd place) and $10,000 (3rd place) respectively
  • Visa shares findings from an independent study “Understanding the Fintech Landscape — Levant” which spoke to key opinion leaders and fintechs across Levant: 
    • Increasing digitization (83%) and market readiness (78%) are key drivers of fintech growth in Levant according to respondents
    • 70% of fintechs in Levant claim regulatory requirements and compliance rules are a key barrier to their growth

Amman, Jordan, June 3, 2024: Visa (NYSE: V), a world leader in digital payments, and the Central Bank of Jordan have announced the winners of the first Levant edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative, a global open innovation program and competition for fintech startups to pitch their solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges.

The Levant edition of Visa Everywhere Initiative was open to fintechs in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine. An in-person final event was held in Amman, Jordan, on June 2, 2024, where five finalist fintechs, shortlisted from over 100 entries from the four countries, competed for monetary prizes, mentorship, and access to Visa’s extensive network of partners in the banking, merchant, and government sectors. Key executives from Arab Bank, Bank Al Etihad, Investbank and Orange Money were also present as sponsors and supporters of the event.

The Levant edition of Visa Everywhere Initiative introduced a People’s Favorite Award voted by the audience at the event. Jordan-based GamerG, an esports tournament platform, won the People’s Favorite Award along with a cash prize of $10,000.

Mario Makary, Vice President, Levant Cluster Manager, Visa, said: “We are thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s Visa Everywhere Initiative in the Levant region and we are eager to see how their innovative solutions will transform the payments landscape in the region. Fintechs in Levant countries have great potential to drive digital payments forward and contribute to the wider economy, but they need support to overcome existing challenges. This is where industry players like Visa must step in, and through initiatives like the Visa Everywhere Initiative, we are committed to accelerating the digitization efforts in Levant,” he added.

H.E Mr. Ziad Asa’ad  Ghanma, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Jordan, commented: "We are delighted to see the culmination of the Visa Everywhere Initiative in the Levant region with the announcement of this year's winners. The initiative has provided an exceptional platform for fintechs in our region to showcase their innovative solutions and address critical challenges in the financial sector. Visa's commitment to fostering fintech innovation aligns seamlessly with our fintech vision to develop a dynamic and inclusive financial ecosystem. Congratulations to the winners, and we are confident that their contributions will further enrich the fintech landscape in the region."

GamgerG will participate in the upcoming Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) Regional Finals on 23 July 2024 (live streamed on TechCrunch).

Also honored at the Visa Everywhere Initiative Levant finale, eDamana from Jordan was first runner-up with prize money of $15,000. In third-place, Simma from Iraq, received a total of $10,000. Two fintechs from Lebanon – Purpl and Matensa also took part in the finals event.

Each of these finalists presented their solutions to the payment challenges of tomorrow to an expert panel of judges, which included Said Murad, Operating Partner at Global Ventures; Muntaser Dawwas, CEO of Invest Bank; Maha El Bahou, CEO of JoPACC; Luma Fawaz, CEO of Oasis 500; and Hasan Kazmi, Head of Digital Partnerships and Ventures, CEMEA at Visa.

To understand the challenges and opportunities of fintechs in the Levant region better, Visa commissioned an independent study among thought leaders and fintechs in the region that identified themes for empowerment. The key themes that emerged from the “Understanding the Fintech Landscape — Levant” study:

The Big Picture: Emerging Trends

  • Digital wallets are emerging as key payment options with significant scope to improve financial inclusion, driven by the need for security and efficiency.
  • Fintechs feel increasing digitization (83%) and market readiness (78%) are the key drivers of growth in the Levant region.
  • Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) is expected to be poised for rapid growth, with current adoption averaging between 5% to 10% in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.
  • Technologies like Artificial Intelligence play a pivotal role in Levant but are at foundational stages.

Understanding the Gaps

  • 70% of respondents claim regulatory requirements and support along with need for compliance is a key barrier to their growth. Some fintechs actively look to set up in other jurisdictions where the regulations are more supportive.
  • Access to funding is a high priority, with bank credit remaining an important source of finance at 17% for Levant.
  • One in three fintechs believe finding skilled talent and retention is a key challenge.
  • Respondents believe the banking system operates in a silo in the Levant countries, and independent fintechs are still considered as competitors

International expansion

  • 70% of Levant fintechs surveyed seek geographical expansion as part of their growth roadmap.
  • A two-way dynamic of cross-border movement is evident across the broader GCC and Levant regions.
  • Fintech companies in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan are increasingly seeking to expand beyond their domestic markets, primarily to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where they can obtain licenses easily and secure funding.

Since launching in 2015, the Visa Everywhere Initiative has helped more than 15,000 startups from over 100 countries collectively secure more than $48 billion in funding. For more information on Visa Everywhere Initiative, please click here.

Visa representatives handed the check to the winner Visa Everywhere Initiative

About ”Understanding the Fintech Landscape — Levant” Study

Visa commissioned a study to understand the current fintech landscape in the GCC and Levant, with the aim of bolstering Visa's efforts in fostering and supporting fintech growth. The research included three methodologies: Analysis of publicly available data on the fintech market, qualitative in-depth interviews with industry experts and fintech players, and online surveys of fintech founders and decision makers in the GCC and Levant.

About Visa

Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating 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 About Visa, and @Visamiddleeast.

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