Global Matters

Working for a brighter future for women, everywhere

Women are launching their own businesses at a rapid rate but access to capital is still a roadblock. Here’s how Visa is helping.

Woman sitting at desk working on computer

Women have always been ready to lead, at home, in business, in government or in sports, but the laws and social norms that have held them back have been slow to keep up. Just 100 years ago today, women in the U.S. were granted the right to vote, thanks to the ratification of the 19th amendment. And it was only a few years ago that women marched for equality in the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.

They marched because barriers still run deep. The overall gender gap is so wide the World Economic Forum says it will take 108 years to close. Women won’t wait that long. More than 250 million women around the world are entrepreneurs and another 153 million women operate established businesses. And women of color are leading the way. Businesses owned by women of color grew 43% from 2014-2019 and African American women-owned businesses grew even faster at 50%. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Black business owners, more than 40% of whom reported not working in April compared to 17% of white small business owners, in part, due to lack of easy access to funds.

Across the board, access to capital has been the biggest challenge for female entrepreneurs. That’s why Visa has made an ongoing investment to help narrow that $1.5 trillion gap in financing that exists for women entrepreneurs. In the U.S., Visa expanded our partnership with IFundWomen to provide grants and digital training to Black women-owned small businesses, part of our commitment to support 50 million small and micro businesses (SMBs) worldwide.

"The Visa grant, the funding, was perfect for re-imagining our brand identity,” says Wanona Satcher, founder of Atlanta-based Makhers Studio, a small business that customizes shipping containers into residential, commercial and anchor service spaces, and a winner of a Visa IFundWomen grant. She adds they hired a local graphic designer to work on a new brand identity to help take her company to the next level. ”We are working on revamping our website, which is what the funding will be going toward, to help us attract investors.”

She’s Next, Empowered by Visa, IFundWomen, our partnership with Rebecca Minkoff’s Female Founder Collective and Women’s World Banking are all ways in which we are putting to work the power of our brand, our business and our network to help narrow the gap.

“I think the overall experience validated me as an entrepreneur,” says Dr. Isfahan Chambers-Harris, founder of Alodia Hair Care, about her experience at a She’s Next event in D.C. “Just the brand of Visa is just so known internationally, so to be able to actually speak about that experience and also have that on my resume has opened doors for me.”

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To learn more about programs Visa offers to women entrepreneurs and small business owners, visit IFundWomen, She’s Next, Empowered by Visa and the Small Business Hub.

Also read about our commitment to Women’s World Banking and our support of women innovators in payments.

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