Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

Mastercard Launches Strive EU Innovation Fund to Empower Small Businesses & ESBA Joins Mastercard’s EU Small Business Council

In an exciting development, Mastercard has announced the opening of applications for its Strive EU Innovation Fund. Unveiled at the end of January, this initiative is dedicated to fostering innovation and supporting the digital advancement of small businesses within the European Union.

The Strive EU Innovation Fund is set to provide substantial support to up to 20 innovative projects from EU member states. Each selected project may receive an equity-free grant of up to €500,000, alongside technical assistance and mentoring, to help them develop solutions that enhance the digital journey of Europe’s small businesses.

Eligible projects should focus on one or more of the following areas:

  1. Enhancing access to working capital and credit through embedded finance.
  2. Strengthening cybersecurity to ensure safe digital transitions.
  3. Adapting to changing consumer preferences and regulatory standards regarding environmental sustainability.
  4. Utilizing artificial intelligence to streamline operations and increase revenue.

The Strive EU Innovation Fund is a part of Mastercard’s global Strive initiative, launched in 2021 to aid over 10 million small businesses worldwide in thriving digitally. This initiative builds on the success of Strive Czechia and Strive UK, aiming to enhance the resilience and growth of small businesses across the EU. To support this initiative, ESBA recently joined Mastercard’s EU Small Business Council.

Applications for the Strive EU Innovation Fund are open until mid March, 2024, with the selection process concluding in June and the announcement of grantees in November 2024. For more information and to apply, visit the Strive Community website at