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 and inclusive economic development, and to address an urgent need from local communities following the spread of COVID-19.
The first program of $10 million is designated for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organizations on the frontlines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as public health and food relief, in each of the five geographic regions in which Visa operates: North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Asia Pacific; and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“As COVID-19 continues to unfold, communities are feeling the effects and need our immediate support,” said Al Kelly, CEO and chairman of Visa. “As a global company that operates a very local business, we recognize this need. We’re also committed to the long-term recovery and will continue to explore ways we can accelerate economic activity in line with our mission to help individuals, businesses and economies thrive.”
The second program is a five-year, strategic $200 million commitment to support small and micro businesses around the world, with a focus on fostering women’s economic advancement. This action expands the Visa Foundation’s long-standing support for small and micro businesses globally. The funds from the Visa Foundation will provide capital to non-government organizations (NGOs) and investment partners supporting small and micro businesses.
Small and micro businesses are the backbone of the global economy, accounting for more than 90 percent of worldwide businesses and contributing 50 to 60 percent of global employment.i There is a $300 billion annual credit deficit in funding for women-owned small and micro businesses, which is expected to grow given the recent economic turmoil unfolding due to COVID-19.ii
“Now more than ever, we must accelerate our support for small businesses on the frontlines driving economic growth,” said Kelly. “As many small and micro business owners are women, there will be a ripple effect supporting women’s economic advancement, which we believe is one of the most important ways to achieve gender equality, reduce poverty and foster inclusive economic development.”