Announcing the Visa Foundation Alongside Inaugural Grant to Women’s World Banking
Today marks the launch of the Visa Foundation, which has been established as part of Visa’s larger social impact strategy to prioritize the growth of micro and small enterprises around the world, enabling individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive.
Alongside this announcement, the Visa Foundation is making its first financial commitment of up to $20 million to Women’s World Banking aimed at supporting millions of women-led small and micro enterprises around the world, with an initial focus in India, Mexico, Egypt and Nigeria, as key markets to drive growth.
“Women and women-owned businesses continue to be disproportionately excluded from accessing formal financial services, impacting hundreds of millions of individuals with a significant effect on families and communities.” said Stephen Kehoe, Visa’s senior vice president for global financial inclusion, speaking at Women’s World Banking Making Finance Work for Women Global Summit in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania “By supporting measures to include women, there is a strong multiplier effect in terms of increased financial health for all. For this reason, the Visa Foundation chose to focus its first grant on women-owned enterprises and has selected Women’s World Banking as our first grant recipient.”
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
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 thrive1. The Visa Foundation’s core mission will be to support efforts to rectify this imbalance. Read more about the Visa Foundation announcement here.
1 International Finance Corporation, “IFC Issue Brief: Small and Medium Enterprises.” March 2012