An international program offering help to fintech start-ups has been extended to Malta.

The Visa Innovation Program will offer mentorship, access to investors and training resources to successful applicants for a six-month period. Participants will also be able to tap into a network of proof-of-concept partners such as banks, e-money institutions, merchants, and other high-profile organizations, to test and validate their propositions and reach the commercialization stage faster.

Jointly created by global payments firm Visa, venture capital experts Eleven Ventures and open innovation accelerators Crowdpolicy and Hackquarters, the program has been designed with fintech startups in mind.

It launches in Malta following successful editions in Bulgaria, Greece and Spain. Over the past five years, the program has supported 72 startups, resulting in 68 proofs of concept.

Participating fintech firms have entered 84 rounds of investment, receiving over €350 million in funding, through a combination of program help and independent capital raises. One of the first participants in the program, Payhawk, became a unicorn last year.

A call for applications that will be open to Maltese fintech startups is expected to launch in March.

Sevi Vassileva, VP and General Manager for Malta, Cyprus, Malta and Israel at Visa said: “Visa is constantly innovating to make new and future payment methods and channels better and more accessible to all. This is what guides our approach to collaborating with Fintech to create new ways to pay and be paid. We are excited to bring this program to Malta with our partners, demonstrating our continued investment in fintech talent in the markets where we operate the program, and beyond.”

Crowdpolicy managing director Michael Psalidas said the program would give Maltese fintech firms the opportunity “to flourish in a dynamic ecosystem with exciting opportunities and potential for fintech entrepreneurs“.

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