NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – Global digital payment company VISA has partnered with Hand in Hand International – a global non-profit organization – to provide business education and broadened financial services access to 10,000 micro-businesses in Kenya, in which 75 percent are owned by women.
VISA Chief Executive Officer Al Kelly said the partnership will further women’s economic empowerment, which has a multiplier effect, boosting economic growth and leading to greater development outcomes.
The initiative in Kenya is part of a three -year US$2.4 million (Sh246mn) partnership to assist SMEs in developing economies in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.
Visa has also partnered with IFundWomen, a funding and education platform that provides access to capital through grants and crowdfunding, expert business coaching and a network of women business owners.
The new global partnership is specifically designed to help entrepreneurs secure the funding they need through a series of grant contests.
The announcement was made in commemoration of Women’s History Month which kicked off on 1st March.
Currently, the global rate of female entrepreneurship has beaten male entrepreneurs with more than 250 million women around the world engaged in businesses.
“Women power economies around the world and increasingly are a driving force in the creation of new businesses,” said Al Kelly, chief executive officer, and chairman, Visa.
“Visa is committed to using the full power of our network, brand and financial resources to put a spotlight on this growing economic force and help female entrepreneurs achieve their dreams,” she said.
The partnerships come at the back of findings from the second annual “State of Female Entrepreneurship” report sponsored by Visa.
The annual study, which seeks to understand the goals, aspirations, and challenges facing women business owners, found that 79 percent of women entrepreneurs in the United States feel more empowered now than they did five years ago, yet 66% report difficulty in obtaining the funding they need.
“In an increasingly digital world, businesses need to constantly adapt to shifting consumer preferences. But keeping up is challenging, especially for a small business. The women entrepreneurs I have met echo a need for more access to capital to fund, run and grow their businesses, “ said Suzan Kereere, global head of merchant sales and acquiring, Visa.
“We are excited to help level the playing field through more access to tools and grants this year and will continue to champion women in all facets of life in the pursuit of an inclusive digital society.