Visa has launched the newly-incorporated Visa Foundation established as part of Visa’s larger social impact strategy. To mark its inception, Visa Foundation is making its first financial commitment of up to $20 million to Women’s World Banking aimed at empowering two million enterprises by 2022.
According to International Finance Corporation (March 2012), small and medium enterprises account for more than 90 percent of enterprises worldwide and contribute to 50-60 percent of global employment. However, they struggle to access the financial tools, capital and training programs needed for them to fully thrive. The Visa Foundation’s core mission is to support efforts to rectify this imbalance.
The Visa Foundation’s first multi-year initiative will be a five-year, up to $20 million grant to Women’s World Banking aimed at supporting millions of women-led small and micro enterprises. Women-owned micro and small businesses are unserved or underserved financially. Financial products such as savings, credit and insurance can help low-income women build their assets, grow their businesses and ensure economic resilience in challenging times.
With support from the Visa Foundation, 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.
The Visa Foundation grant is designed to support Women’s World Banking’s efforts around the world with an initial focus in India, Mexico, Egypt and Nigeria. 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 said, “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.”
“Women’s World Banking is thrilled to be Visa Foundation’s inaugural grantee.” Said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking. She added,” Through this partnership, we will deliver solutions that drive women’s access and usage of innovative financial services, so that they can create economic opportunities for themselves and their families.”