Nigeria’s Drugstoc emerges winner of 2023 CEMEA Visa startup contest as Kenya’s Aifluence wins Audience Favorite award

Drugstoc an innovative startup committed to facilitating efficient distribution and enhanced availability of medical supplies and services was crowned winner of the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) – a global open innovation program and competition for start-ups and fintech companies.

Having taken the $20,000 top prize, Nigerian-based Drugstoc will now compete against the other regional champions from North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific at the VEI Global Finals, which will take place on September 19, 2023, at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

Also honored at the VEI CEMEA Regional Finals (livestreamed by TechCrunch) was Kenyan start-up Aifluence, which took home the Audience Favorite award of $10,000 to add to its VEI Kenya final award. Aifluence is a proprietary technology driven advertising platform that identifies trusted voices that engage, nurture, and activate the right audience to accelerate customer acquisition and growth for global brands.

“I am very honoured and humbled to be named as the audience favourite 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”, said Nelson Aseka, the CEO of Aifluence.

Drugstoc is a comprehensive digital platform that leverages technology, supply chain management, financial solutions, and product knowledge to enhance access to the healthcare sector in emerging markets

“Fintechs and payments innovators are shaping the future of how we make payments as consumers and as businesses,” said Otto Williams, the Senior VP and Head of Product, Partnership and Digital Solutions at Visa CEMEA. “We are proud to offer them a platform to showcase their impactful solutions that can uplift the world of payments and commerce. We’ve seen some impressive projects at this year’s competition – congratulations to Drugstoc for winning and to all our participants. We wish Drugstoc the best of luck at the VEI Global Finals.”

In addition to equity-free cash prize for winning, Drustoc will be able to showcase their solution on a global stage with TechCrunch, one of the world’s most influential start-up technology platforms, gaining valuable exposure to key fintech stakeholders across the banking, merchant, VC and government sectors.

Since its launch in 2015, VEI has helped start-ups from more than 100 countries collectively raise more than $16 billion in funding, with a growing network of nearly 12,000 start-ups.

Visa Everywhere Initiative is an open innovation program that helps start-ups unlock new opportunities and gives them a global platform to demonstrate their ground-breaking solutions. The program first launched in the US in 2015, and quickly expanded into a global program. To date, nearly 12,000 start-ups have participated, and have collectively raised more than $16 billion in funding so far.

The Visa Everywhere Initiative is open to all start-ups who offer innovative solutions to the payments and commerce challenges of tomorrow. It also helps support start-ups and fintech in two ways:  As a competition, it gives them a global stage to pitch their solutions to a panel of payments experts, win prizes and gain wider attention in the sector. As a program, it plugs start-ups into our global network of partners. This network is accessible to our Visa teams from all over the world when looking for solutions.


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