The Visa Foundation announced that it is pledging $210 million to fund two different programs that will support small and micro enterprises that have been financially disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Money from the Visa Foundation will offer capital to non-government organizations (NGOs) and investment partners that assist small and micro-businesses.
The first program is a $10 million fund that will provide fast emergency assistance to charities on the frontlines fighting the pandemic — public health and food relief — in 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, chief executive officer (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 pledges $200 million over five years to assist small and micro businesses worldwide. The focus will be on cultivating the economic advancement of women.
Small and micro-enterprises are the nuclei of the global economy, Visa maintains. They account for over 90 percent of businesses around the world and also account for 50 to 60 percent of global employment.
Further, there is a $300 billion annual credit deficit in funding small businesses that are women-owned. The disparity is expected to grow because of the financial reality of the pandemic.
“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.”
The Visa Foundation will distribute the $200 million in $60 million grants to NGOs that assist entrepreneurs in the regions where Visa operates.
“Two hundred million dollars in new financial resources demonstrates our continuing commitment to support small and micro businesses, with a focus on women’s economic advancement globally,” said Graham Macmillan, president of the Visa Foundation. “When women thrive, communities thrive. We know this matters now more than ever as the global economy seeks to recover and rebuild.”
In other Visa news, the company announced it would delay the rollout of a new fee structure due to the coronavirus pandemic.