Visa pours $210m into the coronavirus effort to help SMEs
The Visa Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Visa, has committed to pouring $210 million into two programmes to help small and micro businesses.
Addressing what it calls an “urgent need from local communities” during the coronavirus, the card issuer giant is immediately donating $10 million to support “frontline” charities in responding to the global pandemic with services such as public health and food relief.
This donation will cover all of Visa’s operating regions, which are North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The remaining $200 million will be distributed as part of a five-year programme, which Visa says will be focused on “fostering women’s economic advancement”, in line with the wider aims of the foundation.
Visa will direct this sum to non-government organizations (NGOs) and investment partners which support small and micro businesses.
As well as helping small businesses more generally – which Visa says account for more than 90% of worldwide businesses – the fund will also address the $300 billion annual credit deficit in funding for women-owned small and micro businesses, which Visa expects will grow bigger amid coronavirus.
“Now more than ever, we must accelerate our support for small businesses on the frontlines driving economic growth,” says Visa’s CEO and chairman Al 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 $200 million will be split in two, with $60 million going in grants to NGOs in “every” region where Visa operates, and the remaining $140 million going to investment partners.