Visa Unveils Grant Programs for Women’s Empowerment

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Womens' Empowerment Infographic.

New study commissioned by Visa shows 66% of female entrepreneurs report difficulty funding businesses

Kicking off Women’s History Month, Visa has announced two new partnerships bolstering the company’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment. Hand In Hand International and IFundWomen will join Visa to help provide both educational resources and funding for women entrepreneurs around the globe to help them build and grow their businesses. The global rate of female entrepreneurship has been increasing more quickly than that of male entrepreneurs1, with more than 250 million women around the world engaged in entrepreneurship2.

“Women power economies around the world and increasingly are a driving force in the creation of new businesses,” said Al Kelly, chief executive officer and chairman, Visa. “Visa is committed to using the full power of our network, brand and financial resources to put a spotlight on this growing economic force and help female entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.”

About the Partnerships:

  • IFundWomen: IFundWomen is a funding and education platform that provides access to capital through grants and crowdfunding, expert business coaching and a network of women business owners. Visa’s new global partnership with IFundWomen is specifically designed to help entrepreneurs secure the funding they need through a series of grant contests. To find out more and apply for a grant, entrepreneurs can visit IFundWomen.com/Visa.
  • Hand in Hand International: As part of the company’s mission to enable individuals, businesses and economies to thrive, Visa is launching a $2.4 million, three-year partnership with Hand in Hand International, a global non-profit organization that focuses on developing economies in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Visa’s partnership with Hand in Hand International will focus on providing business education and broadened financial services access to 10,000 micro businesses in Kenya – at least 75% of which are owned by women. The partnership will further women’s economic empowerment, which has a multiplier effect3, boosting economic growth and leading to greater development outcomes.

In conjunction with the partnerships, Visa today unveiled initial findings from the second annual “State of Female Entrepreneurship” report4. The annual study seeks to understand the goals, aspirations and challenges facing women business owners today. Key findings included that funding remains a top challenge: 79% of women entrepreneurs in the United States feel more empowered now than they did five years ago, yet 66% report difficulty in obtaining the funding they need.

“In an increasingly digital world, businesses need to constantly adapt to shifting consumer preferences. But keeping up is challenging, especially for a small business. The women entrepreneurs I have met echo a need for more access to capital to fund, run and grow their businesses,“ said Suzan Kereere, global head of merchant sales and acquiring, Visa. “We are excited to help level the playing field through more access to tools and grants this year, and will continue to champion women in all facets of life in the pursuit of an inclusive digital society.”

Visa has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to empower women through partnerships, programs and sponsorships. The company’s more recent efforts include:

  • Women in Business:
    • Female Founder Collective: Visa has entered its second year of partnership with Rebecca Minkoff’s Female Founder Collective. To kickoff, Visa will host a workshop at Female Founders Day, where a diverse mix of lending and digital payment experts will discuss strategies small business can use for loans and capital.
    • Women’s World Banking: In 2017, the Visa Foundation made their inaugural grant of $20 million to Women’s World Banking to help women-led micro and small business owners increase access to capital and to help grow their businesses. The program is on track to reach 1 million women by the end of the year.
    • She’s Next, Empowered by Visa: In 2019, Visa launched its women-owned small business initiative, She’s Next, Empowered by Visa, with workshops in New York, Atlanta, Toronto and Cape Town at the World Economic Forum in South Africa. She’s Next leverages Visa’s brand and network to empower women entrepreneurs with tools to build their businesses, ultimately creating a ripple effect throughout their communities.
  • Women in Sport:
    • The SheBelieves Cup: As the sponsor of the SheBelieves Cup, Visa will present the first-ever MVP trophy to the most inspiring and empowering athlete on the field during the tournament, selected by a committee of former female footballers. Visa will also host a Practical Money Skills workshop at the SheBelieves Summit, which underscores the importance of financial literacy and how to plan ahead for financial success.
    • Olympic and Paralympic Games: Visa’s sponsored athlete program of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, Team Visa, has been comprised of more than 50% women athletes looking back historically at the full roster. For Tokyo 2020, Visa is supporting more than 50 female Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls from around the world. Additionally, in the lead up to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 – Visa, the China Women’s Development Foundation and Beijing Sport University announced a program aimed to empower women to grow their small businesses and contribute to local social-economic development and sustainable growth.