As the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak, the Visa Foundation has announced its commitment of two programmes totalling $210 million to support small and micro businesses.
The pledges align with the Foundation’s long-term focus on women’s economic advancement and inclusive economic development and will address an urgent need from local communities following the spread of COVID-19.
Al Kelly, CEO and chairman of Visa commented: “As COVID-19 continues to unfold, communities are feeling the effects and need our immediate support. 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 first programme 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.
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 organizations (NGOs) and investment partners supporting small and micro businesses.
Kelly added: “Now more than ever, we must accelerate our support for small businesses on the frontlines driving economic growth. 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.”
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.
Graham Macmillan, President of the Visa Foundation concluded: “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. When women thrive, communities thrive. We know this matters now more than ever as the global economy seeks to recover and rebuild.”