Visa Foundation commits $210m to support small and micro businesses

Friday, Apr 17, 2020 17:44

The Visa Foundation is offering support to SMEs to help them overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19. — VNS Photo

The Visa Foundation has recently announced a commitment of two programmes totalling US$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.

The aid funding will also address the urgent need from local communities following the spread of COVID-19, the foundation said.

The first programme of $10 million is designated for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organisations 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, the 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 recognise 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 programme 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 organisations (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 per cent of worldwide businesses and contributing 50 to 60 per cent of global employment.

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.

In Viet Nam, SMEs account for roughly 98 per cent of all businesses, 40 per cent of GDP, and 50 per cent of total employment. Women-owned enterprises account for about 30 per cent of the country’s businesses.

Through the $200 million small and micro business programme, the Visa Foundation will provide $60 million in grants to NGOs dedicated to supporting small and micro business owners, many of whom are women, in every region where Visa operates.

The Visa Foundation will also allocate $140 million with investment partners that generate positive social and financial returns for small and micro businesses.

The Visa Foundation seeks to support inclusive economies where individuals, businesses and communities can thrive. Through grant making and investing, the Foundation prioritises the resilience and growth of micro and small businesses that benefit women. — VNS

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