Following International Women’s Day, Visa 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.
Visa recently commissioned a study entitled, African Women Entrepreneurs, to investigate the role of electronic payments in enabling the success of female entrepreneurs in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. The research reveals that women acknowledge the role of electronic payments in business success, with some confiding that customers spend more when they have access to electronic payments as opposed to cash. Women in Africa also reinvest up to 90 percent of their income in the education, health and nutrition of their families and communities- compared to 40 percent for men. Therefore, investing in women owned businesses is one way Visa can help to transform societies.
Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for Visa SSA believes that “closing the gender gap requires persistence, hard work and support. Visa’s She’s Next initiative in Africa seeks to encourage female micro and small business owners to fund, run and grow their own businesses. The number of women entrepreneurs is growing with 163 million starting businesses since 2014 alone. The highest percentages of these women are in Africa and it is for this reason that we are investing in women owned and lead businesses on the continent.”
Visa has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to empower women through partnerships, programs and sponsorships. The company’s more recent efforts include:
· Women in Business:
o 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.
o 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.
o 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:
o 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.
o The Second Half: Inspired by Visa’s groundbreaking partnership with UEFA Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World CupTM, Visa recently announced the launch of The Second Half; a career development program to support female footballers in Europe, as they consider their careers beyond the football pitch.
o 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.