Visa Inc. has marked the launch of the newly-incorporated Visa Foundation, which has been established as part of Visaâ€™s larger social impact strategy that will prioritize the growth of micro and small enterprises around the world, enabling individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive. To mark its inception, the Visa Foundation is making its first financial commitment of up to $20 million to Womenâ€™s World Banking.
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 Foundationâ€™s core mission is to support efforts to rectify this imbalance.
â€œAs a brand and a business, Visa has always stood for making a positive and transformational impact on the world,â€ said Al Kelly, chief executive officer for Visa and Visa Foundation board member. â€œThe Visa Foundation has been established to build on a long history of corporate giving and will accelerate the delivery of our social impact goals. Our intention is to establish a legacy of meaningful contributions by helping millions of microenterprises thrive.â€
Womenâ€™s World Banking Support
The Visa Foundationâ€™s first multi-year initiative will be a five-year, up to $20 million grant to Womenâ€™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 Foundationâ€™s support, Womenâ€™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:
Â· 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
Â· Expand Womenâ€™s World Bankingâ€™s global network of partner financial service providers to effectively serve 50 million more financially underserved individuals
Â· Measure the impact that having access to improved financial services has on women enterprise owners
Â· 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 Womenâ€™s World Bankingâ€™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.
â€œWomen 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.â€ said Stephen Kehoe, Visaâ€™s senior vice president for global financial inclusion, speaking at Womenâ€™s World Banking Making Finance Work for Women Global Summit in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania â€œBy 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 Womenâ€™s World Banking as our first grant recipient.â€
â€œWomenâ€™s World Banking is thrilled to be Visa Foundationâ€™s inaugural grantee. We share a vision to serve low-income women entrepreneurs whose contribution to economic growth is far below its potential,â€ said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. â€œOne billion women worldwide are unbanked, a significant number of them business owners. Through this partnership, we will deliver solutions that drive womenâ€™s access and usage of innovative financial services, so that they create economic opportunity for themselves and their families.â€