Thrive Agric, a fintech providing smallholder farmers access to finance, insights and distribution was crowned the 2022 winner of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI). The VEI is a global open innovation program and competition for start-ups and fintech companies.
Thrive Agric has also been announced as the winner of the Visa Direct award for its role in shaping the future of money movement in Nigeria.
Taking place in Qatar alongside the FIFA World Cup 2022, the global finale was preceded by a year-long competition. It saw more than 4,000 entrepreneurs across the world entering innovative ideas to solve the payment challenges of tomorrow.
In addition to the overall winner, the following prizes were awarded:
- 2nd place: Zeti, a fintech enabling pay-per-use financing of sustainable transport.
- 3rd place and Audience Favourite: Huli, a platform that connects patients, doctors, and other healthcare services.
Andrew Torre, regional president for CEMEA, Visa:
“This year, more than 4,000 fintechs participated in the global Visa Everywhere Initiative. We saw a record 1,130 applications from Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“A new fintech generation is transforming the way consumers and businesses make payments. It makes it easier for more people to access and move money when they need it. We congratulate Ayo Arikawe and all the winners in this year’s competition. Furthermore, we look forward to continuing to partner with fintechs to solve the payments challenges of tomorrow”.
Ruben Salazar, senior vice president and global head of Visa Direct, said: “As we strive to create more ways for people, SMBs, and larger businesses to participate in the global economy, the VEI competition provides a unique insight on how fintech are helping shape the future of money movement and expanding access to underserved markets and regions. Today’s Visa Direct Award winner will have access to modern tools. Additionally, they will have teams that help enable global money movement to billions of endpoints worldwide.”
Bringing people together
The event brought together Visa and industry thought leaders. The previous Visa Everywhere Initiative winner also returned to celebrate the innovative fintechs and their solutions. His Excellency Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al-Thani, governor of Qatar Central Bank, delivered the event’s keynote address. Wade Arnold, founder and CEO of Moov Financial and 2021 Visa Everywhere Initiative North America and global winner returned as a judge, with special guest Visa’s Dr. Saeeda Jaffar, senior vice president and group country manager for GCC, hosting a fireside chat with football legend Marcel Desailly.
Ayo Arikawe is the co-founder of Thrive Agric and now winner of both the global and the CEMEA competitions. He delivered his pitch on how his fintech is enabling strategic partnerships with financial institutions and agriculture value chain players to provide smallholders with financial services, agriculture inputs, extension, market linkage, e-commerce, and payment services.
“As a central part of the Nigerian economy, agriculture is the livelihood and main source of income for many of our people. The hard work we’ve put into ThriveAgric will ensure that technology is leveraged to empower farmers across the country. To not only win the CEMEA regional VEI competition but also pitch at the final here in Qatar gives me great confidence in our ability to scale our solutions and continue to enrich farmers’ lives,” said Ayo Arikawe.