Romania ranks 1st among 29 countries in mid-term Strive EU Innovation Fund entries

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Bucharest, February 21, 2024# RBJ – Romania ranks 1st among 29 countries midway through the application process for Strive EU Innovation Fund, a Mastercard initiative aimed at accelerating the development of solutions to support European small businesses on their digital journey.

“We are thrilled that, within less than a month since applications opened, Romania has taken the lead in registrations for the Strive EU Innovation Fund. Supported by a streamlined registration process, this remarkable milestone not only underscores the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit driving Romania’s innovation ecosystem but also reflects the strong commitment of our small business community towards leveraging digital solutions for growth. It’s a testament to the potential and dynamism of our local innovators, and we’re proud to support their journey towards success in the digital economy”, said Cosmin Vladimirescu, General Manager Mastercard Romania & Croatia.

The Strive EU Innovation Fund offers up to €500,000 for innovative solutions supporting small businesses’ growth in embedded finance, cybersecurity, environmental sustainability, and AI. Applicants can be startups, established companies, nonprofits, social enterprises, academic institutions, or other organization types, except government entities. To stand-out, projects must drive significant improvements in small business resilience and growth, provide a digital delivery mechanism that can scale in a cost-effective way, and generate lessons and insights that other organizations can benefit from.

Winners of the Strive EU Innovation Fund gain the opportunity to develop and test innovative and experimental solutions they might not otherwise have been able to pursue. Beyond funding, they receive access to Strive Community and Mastercard expertise, along with valuable exposure and publicity.

The application period remains open until March 11, 2024. The selection process will take place in June, and the final grantees will be announced in November 2024. For more information on how to apply for the Strive EU Innovation Fund visit: https://strivecommunity.org/innovation-fund-eu.

Strive EU: big ideas for small businesses

Although many European small business owners acknowledge that better use of technology could bolster their growth and resilience, concerns about security and privacy present substantial barriers to implementing new technologies and fully participating in the digital economy.

Mastercard is dedicated to empowering small businesses to thrive in the digital era.. The Strive EU program, implemented by Caribou Digital and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, seeks to boost the resilience and growth of European small businesses by surfacing new innovations that help them get capital, go digital and gain networks and know-how. The program consists of an Innovation Fund and support to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

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The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise, and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs, and empower a community of thinkers, leaders, and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on LinkedIn, Instagram and subscribe to its newsletter.

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Caribou Digital delivers fund management, learning partnerships, and research, advisory, and measurement services, supporting organizations worldwide to build more inclusive and ethical digital economies.

 

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