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The Salvadoran Ruben Salazar, senior vice president of products, solutions and innovation for Visa in Latin America and the Caribbean, during am interview with EFE, in Miami, United States on Jun. 6, 2017. EFE/ANA MENGOTTI
The Salvadoran Ruben Salazar, senior vice president of products, solutions and innovation for Visa in Latin America and the Caribbean, during am interview with EFE, in Miami, United States on Jun. 6, 2017. EFE/ANA MENGOTTI

Are you a Fintech entrepeneur in Latin America? Visa wants to help you

Global investment in Fintechs amounts to more than $23 billion, but only $600 million have gone to to Latin America.Visa hopes that its "Everywhere Initiative"…

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The Visa company on Tuesday offered emerging companies in Latin America's financial sector the chance to win a $50,000 prize in a competition of proposals to transform and reinvent today's electronic payment systems.

The Salvadoran Ruben Salazar, senior vice president of products, solutions and innovation for Visa in Latin America and the Caribbean, explained that Latin America is estimated to have only about 1,000 "Fintechs," or startups for financial technology services, while the potential exists for many more.

"Fintechs haven't had the drive in Latin America that we've seen in other regions," Salazar said, adding that global investment in Fintechs amounts to more than $23 billion, but only $600 million have gone to this region.

Brazil and Mexico are the countries in the region with the greatest Fintech development, followed by Colombia, Argentina and Chile.

Visa hopes that its Everywhere Initiative, as the competition previously organized in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region is called, serves as a stimulus for creating emerging companies in the Latin American financial technology sector.

Of the 1,000 Latin American Fintechs, 40 to 50 percent are dedicated specifically to making payments, said Salazar, who looks forward to a very close competition.

The period for presenting candidacies is now open and by mid-July, some 50 semi-finalists will be selected, divided into five groups of 10 companies each.

The finalists will be chosen from their presentations in Mexico City on Aug. 24, in Buenos Aires on Aug. 31, in Santiago on Sept. 7, in Bogota on Sept. 26 and in Sao Paulo on Sept. 28.

In November the 10 finalists must be in Miami to take part in a four-day training program at the Visa Miami Innovation Center, and on Nov. 9 the final will be held during the so-called FINNOSUMMIT, a meeting of the financial sector in Miami.

A jury will choose and announce the same day the winner of the $50,000 prize, Salazar said.

But the Everywhere Initiative consists not only of that cash prize but of connecting the Fintechs with banks and stores looking for new payment solutions.

 Salazar said that Visa does not invest or hold shares in the emerging financial technology companies, but rather acts as a catalyst for investments by institutions that Visa does business with.

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