Partner Spotlight: Village Capital

Climate change affects women and underrepresented populations. Women, particularly women entrepreneurs, are critical in developing a more sustainable, equitable future. Yet these entrepreneurs have been historically and systematically excluded from early-stage investments and resources that support innovation, receiving just 2% of annual venture funding. Village Capital is working to reinvent this imbalanced system. Leveraging more than a decade of experience, the organization provides women entrepreneurs with timely training, expert advice and flexible funding – and, in turn, helps to close the gender financing and resource gap. 

To amplify Village Capital’s efforts, Visa Foundation provided $1 million to support the launch of Greentech Europe, an annual investment readiness program that supported 136 women-led, early-stage Greentech businesses across Europe over two years. The program provided access to Village Capital’s business development curriculum, industry experts, including Visa staff and $550,000 in funding. Upon completion of the program, Greentech alumni reported a 215% increase in investment fundraising and 191% growth in revenue.

Polina Vasilenko portrait, who participated in Greentech Europe as founder and CEO of Heliorec.
Russian-born Polina Vasilenko participated in Greentech Europe as founder and CEO of Heliorec, which provides clean, affordable energy worldwide via solar panels that float on water. Polina’s growing startup is a result of her bold decision to leave her successful 14-year career as an engineer and embark on an entrepreneurial journey to industrialize renewable energy. To date, Heliorec has raised €1.6 million in funding and currently has installed solar panels in Belgium, Russia and France. The latest installation is 247m², resistant to wind and waves, and capable of producing 18.5 MWh of clean energy a year. Heliorec’s advancements demonstrate that programs like Greentech Europe help ensure investment capital is more inclusive and accessible to women-led businesses, and that resources for entrepreneurs are more equitably distributed to female founders.

Visa Foundation’s funding has powered the training and mentoring that women changemakers need to develop and scale their products. The success of the entrepreneurs’ innovations stands to benefit not only the region, but the entire planet – building a more sustainable, healthy and equitable present and future.

– Allie Burns, CEO, Village Capital