Global Matters

Visa launches grants, mentorship and more for Black women-owned businesses

Visa expands partnership with IFundWomen as part of greater effort to enable 50 million global small and micro businesses

Image of woman standing outside in front of a fence with her hands in her pockets
Wanona Satcher is the founder of Makhers Studio, a small business that customizes shipping containers into residential, commercial, community, retail and anchor service spaces

Black entrepreneurs, especially women, have been starting businesses at a higher rate than the rest of the population in recent years. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Black business owners. More than 40% of Black business owners reported they weren’t working in April when businesses were feeling the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic consequences[1].

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and Visa is committed to helping them recover and grow through access to capital and the power of the Visa network. In an effort to specifically support Black women-owned small businesses and build on our existing efforts, we are extending our partnership with IFundWomen through a new series of grants and educational resources. Ten $10,000 grants will go to Black women in the U.S. to help them run and grow their businesses. Applications will open on June 30 at www.ifundwomen.com/visa.

This program supplements our commitment to support 50 million small and micro businesses (SMBs) worldwide, actions outlined by CEO Al Kelly to help stop discrimination and racial injustice, and lean into Visa’s longstanding focus on supporting women of all backgrounds. The Visa and IFundWomen partnership launched earlier this year and has awarded grants to U.S. based, women-led small businesses, with global expansion coming this summer. The first series of grants provided an opportunity for recipients to grow their businesses and continue to offer much needed services to their local (and global) communities.

In addition to the grants, Visa and IFundWomen are providing business coaching, educational resources and a series of on-demand videos designed specifically to help women-led small businesses sharpen their business pitches and content.

Visa’s Ongoing Commitment to Women-Owned Businesses

Today’s news shines a light on the work Visa has already done to support the growth and success of women-owned businesses, including: 

  • Visa Foundation: In April 2020, the Visa Foundation announced a commitment of two programs totaling $210 million to support small and micro businesses, aligning with the Foundation’s long-term focus on women’s economic advancement, inclusive economic development, and to address urgent needs from local communities following the spread of COVID-19.
  • She’s Next, Empowered by Visa: To support and champion women entrepreneurs, 18 months ago we launched a global initiative, She’s Next, Empowered by Visa. Since the launch, Visa has hosted over ten experiences and reached more than 6,000 women entrepreneurs through workshops and events.
  • Fast Track Program: Visa’s investment in women-owned businesses is further emphasized by the company’s recent inclusion of women-founded Fintechs around the globe.
  • Visa Everywhere Initiative: Last year, Visa hosted the first-ever Visa Everywhere Initiative: Women's Global Edition, celebrating women founders and co-founders who are changing the world by solving business and social challenges. The program was launched to celebrate International Women’s Day and the competition received nearly 1,300 submissions of women-founded Fintechs and social impact organizations from over 140+ countries.

Starting, owning or growing a business is an incredible journey but not always an easy one, especially for Black women founders who face extraordinary funding challenges. At Visa, we believe that empowering women entrepreneurs is the right thing to do, and it’s also a business imperative.

 

[1] Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, “The Impact Of Covid-19 On Small Business Owners:

Evidence Of Early-Stage Losses from the April 2020 Current Population Survey.”

 

Women’s Empowerment

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