UAE start-up, Qpal, has been announced as the winner of the $50K top prize in the first ever Middle East and North Africa edition of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative, a global programme designed to encourage the development of innovation in payments.
The young company developed a mobile payments solution to make food and beverage purchases at events faster and more efficient, compared with conventional cash methods. This innovation shortens queuing times for event customers, therefore helping to optimise revenues for the organisers.
From 12 shortlisted finalists, Qpal was declared the winner of both the ‘Acceptance Challenge’ category, as well as the overall prize for the business idea. With the win comes the opportunity to work with the team at Visa’s Dubai-based Innovation Centre to develop the concept further.
Winners of the $25,000 prize for the best solution in the ‘Airport Transit Challenge,’ was Swvl, an Egypt-based private commuter shuttle service that helps commuters to find the smartest routes across city destinations, for a fixed fare,
Bebuzzd, another UAE-based start-up, took home the $25,000 prize in the ‘Loyalty Challenge.’ They developed a one-stop shop for users, who can pay merchants directly from the mobile application while earning and redeeming points for their purchases. It also serves as a customer acquisition platform for SMEs.
Shiv Singh, SVP Innovation & Strategic Partnerships at Visa, said: “We have had the privilege of working with some of the best minds in the region over the last few months and have selected three category winners with the potential to truly change the way people pay in the region. We congratulate Qpal, Swvl, and Bebuzzd and thank all the finalists for participating in the Everywhere Initiative, and we wish them success in the future.”
He added: “The future of digital payments will be shaped through collaboration and we look forward to working with our start-up partners to transform the payments landscape over the coming years to the benefit of consumers, merchants and issuers alike.”
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