Small and micro-businesses are facing an unprecedented challenge in light of COVID-19. In the U.S., nearly two-thirds have temporarily closed or are planning to so in the next two weeks.
Around the world, small and micro-businesses account for more than 90% of global businesses and 50-60% of global employment. Supporting these small and micro-businesses to help get our world moving again has never been more critical.
Earlier this month, the Visa Foundation announced two programs totaling $210 million to support small businesses and organizations focused on women’s economic advancement and inclusive economic development.
The first program of $10 million is designated for charitable organizations on the frontlines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic giving immediate emergency relief in areas such as public health and food distribution in each of the five geographic regions in which Visa operates.
Also, the Visa Foundation will provide a $200 million commitment to support small and micro-businesses around the world, with a focus on women’s economic advancement.
This new program builds on a long-standing commitment by Visa and the Visa Foundation to support women-led small and micro-businesses.
The 252 million women entrepreneurs around the world disproportionately face funding and other challenges, even in the best of times. According to initial findings from Visa’s second annual “State of Female Entrepreneurship” report, 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.
Visa’s long-standing commitment to female entrepreneurs includes partnerships, programs and resources to help them run, fund and grow their businesses wherever they are globally. These include:
Visa Back to Business Project
The Visa Back to Business Project supports small businesses affected by natural disasters and the current pandemic.
Using a business locator tool, consumers can identify, locate and support local businesses that may be open.
This week, Visa introduced updates to the Visa Back to Business Project, including a new COVID-19 business locator page with added functionality that allows consumers to identify those businesses that may remain open locally, including grocers and other essential services.
Both pages are now live in five states across the U.S. (New York, Massachusetts, California, Washington and Florida), with plans to expand across the U.S. and globally.
Last month, Visa announced a partnership with IFundWomen, a funding and education platform that provides access to capital through grants and crowdfunding.
Together, Visa and IFundWomen have launched a series of grant contests for U.S. based small businesses in need of funding assistance, with plans to expand globally this year.
The average U.S. small business requires about $10,000 of capital to get off the ground. To help address this issue, Visa and IFundWomen will be awarding four $10,000 grants in the coming weeks.
Together, Visa and IFundWomen developed a coaching and Slack community and released a series of educational, on-demand videos designed specifically for women-led small businesses to sharpen their business pitches and content.
To access the resources available, visit http://www.ifundwomen.com/visa.
She’s Next, Empowered by Visa
A global initiative designed to champion women entrepreneurs as they run, fund and grow their business, She’s Next, Empowered by Visa launched in January 2019 and in its first year reached thousands of women small business owners and hosted networking and learning events in ten cities around the globe.
Continuing the commitment to small business communities, the She’s Next website and newsletters provide women entrepreneurs with tools to build their businesses.
Female Founder Collective
For the second year, Visa has partnered with Rebecca Minkoff’s Female Founder Collective to support female-owned businesses.
Most recently, at a workshop in New York at Female Founder’s Day, Visa led a discussion on how best to obtain loans and capital alongside IFundWomen, Behalf and Authorize.Net.
The Female Founder Collective is offering several digital events and resources at https://www.femalefoundercollective.com/.
Visa and the Visa Foundation also support women’s economic advancement as part of their mission to be a force for good, with partnerships for the Visa Foundation ranging from with Women’s World Banking to the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and to a new partnership Visa is funding with Hand in Hand International.
If you like to talk about this story
Please head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.