The Electronic Transactions Association plans to award a cash prize for innovation and launch an innovation zone on the floor of its trade show this year with the help of a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“With support from the Gates Foundation, the 2013 show will unveil the most innovative new financial products and services coming from best and brightest minds in the world,” Jason Oxman, association CEO, said in a Jan. 15 press release.

In part, the grant is funding the Payments Next Zone, which is slated to showcase payments innovation at the 2013 ETA Annual Meeting and Expo in New Orleans this April, the association said in the release.

Six startup companies chosen for their innovation in payments will earn complimentary exhibit space in the Zone. Each 100-Square-foot booth space is valued at more than $5,000, the release said.

The most innovative among those startups will also win the $10,000 E-Pay Innovation Award for exhibiting the best new electronic payments technology or product with the potential to make a profound impact on the global market, particularly for unserved or underserved consumers, according to the release.

Startups must demonstrate financial need and should submit their applications for the Zone by Feb. 28. Candidates may complete the application at Information is available at

Judges will pick the award winner at the show, where entrants must demonstrate the technology as a prototype or software mockup. The panel of judges will include journalists, members of the association’s technology committee and representatives of the Gates Foundation.

The trade show will feature more than 200 exhibitors in 150,000 square feet at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the release said, noting that the association expects more than 3,000 attendees.

The show has created a Mobile Pay Zone for the first time this year. The association recently started a Mobile Payments Committee that brings together representatives of 90 companies, and it’s holding Mobile Payment Innovations 2013, a one-day conference devoted to opportunities created by the new technology.


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