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Lisbon Lessons from Young Entrepreneurs

By Bertrand Sava, Managing Director for Southern Europe • Visa Europe

July 08, 2015

I recently spent two days in Lisbon judging Junior Achievement’s Europe Enterprise Challenge – the grand final of the annual student start-up competition. We’ve always been proud to support Junior Achievement, so the opportunity to join the judging panel and help select a winner was irresistible.

But why do we support initiatives like JA? It’s simple. We want Europe’s young people to thrive in the digital economy, and supporting financial education programmes, financially and with other resources, is one way of doing that.

For an economy to succeed, it needs buyers and sellers, coders and developers and above all, entrepreneurs. These are the people who create value. For themselves. For their future employees. For their customers. For their communities.

We can help them do this, and in turn these young entrepreneurs can help us continue to create value for society and the economy. That’s our goal, it’s why we’re involved, but in Lisbon this week we had to pick a winner:

So, we looked for three qualities which we see as vital to the future of commerce, locally and globally.

Frictionless Commerce: Ideas that remove barriers to doing business; ideas that focus on the user, that make things easier.

Everyone in Business. Turn a hobby, a passion, into a businesses. We wanted to see a spark to take someone from bedroom to boardroom.

Finally, we looked for examples of what we called My Control. An idea that gives customers more control. Control of their experience online. Control of their data. Something that empowers the people who use it.

We saw some absolutely fantastic ideas, which we’re sure we will see again as their teams develop them further and see how far they can take them, but one entry had everything we were looking for: Visa is proud to have awarded CosyTech with its Everywhere Commerce Award.

CosyTech’s Trickle NFC device aims to ‘kill’ the app when it obstructs or slows information exchange or a transaction. In a shop or hotel, on a train or a plane, this solution aims to make it easier for the consumer and the retailer. They want to take the friction out of finding out and purchasing. And they want to put the user back in control. We look forward to inviting them to Visa Collab, our London Innovation hub!

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