Visa Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Visa has unveiled plans to dole out a whopping $20 million to women across the world. The move is part of Visa’s larger social impact strategy that will prioritize the growth of micro and small enterprises around the world.
In a statement in Lagos, Visa said the gesture will enable individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive. “As a brand and a business, Visa has always stood for making a positive and transformational impact on the world,” said Al Kelly, chief executive officer for Visa and Visa Foundation board member stated in the statement.
Kelly disclosed that the Visa Foundation has been established to build on a long history of corporate giving and will accelerate the delivery of its social impact goals. “Our intention is to establish a legacy of meaningful contributions by helping millions of micro enterprises thrive,” he added.
At the heart of the Visa Foundation is the belief that micro and small enterprises are the backbone of the global economy. In fact, small and medium enterprises account for more than 90 percent of enterprises worldwide, and contribute 50-60 percent of global employment. However, these segments struggle to access the financial tools, capital and training programs required to enable them to fully thrive. The Visa Foundation’s core mission is to support efforts to rectify this imbalance.
Women’s World Banking Support
The Visa Foundation’s first multi-year initiative will be a five-year,up to $20 million grant to Women’s World Banking aimed at supporting millions of women-led small and micro enterprises.
Despite their contribution to both the formal and informal economy worldwide, women-owned micro and small businesses are unserved or underserved financially. According to the World Bank there is a staggering $300 billion annual credit deficit for formal sector women-owned small and medium sized businesses. Financial products such as savings, credit and insurance can help low-income women to build their assets, grow their businesses, and ensure economic resilience in challenging times.
With the Visa Foundation’s support, Women’s World Banking will develop sustainable solutions for women entrepreneurs to build their enterprises and establish financial safety nets while also advancing leadership skills and financial capabilities. Over the next five years, the program will:
- Develop, test and scale innovative and sustainable products, that may include bundled financial services, business continuity insurance and technology-based solutions that drive positive financial behaviors
- Expand Women’s World Banking’s global network of partner financial service providers to effectively serve 50 million more financially underserved individuals
- Measure the impact that having access to improved financial services has on women enterprise owners
- Drive knowledge sharing, innovation and best practices within the global community on how to best support small and micro enterprises.
The Visa Foundation grant is designed to support Women’s World Banking’s efforts around the world, with an initial focus in India, Mexico, Egypt and Nigeria, as key markets to drive growth among low-income, women-owned small enterprises.