Global Matters

Addressing the digital and funding gap in D.C. and beyond

Visa awards She’s Next Grant Program winners and launches 6-city revitalization program to support Black women-owned businesses and help them meet the demands of digital consumers

Woman small business owner crossing arms and looking at camera

How it started: Cash, card and check. How it’s going: Contactless, curbside and card-on-file. The way we pay has changed, and many of the businesses that pivoted to accept these digital forms of payment over the past year have thrived. According to Visa’s Back to Business Study 2021 Outlook, 82% of SMBs surveyed had embraced new forms of digital technology to meet changing consumer behaviors by the end of 2020.

As the U.S. reopens, Visa launched a hyper-local program to help support revitalization in six cities with a high concentration of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. as part of its commitment to digitally enable 50 million small businesses worldwide.

First stop: Washington, D.C., where Visa is awarding $10,000 grants to 10 Black women entrepreneurs as part of the She’s Next Grant Program, which includes a year of coaching through IFundWomen and offers from Visa partners including 9Spokes, Finagraph, Intuit QuickBooks, Invoiced, Plastiq, Yelp and Yext, who will provide subscriptions to tools and platforms needed to help manage both front- and back-end business operations.

“Being an entrepreneur can be very isolating and very rewarding — when you believe in what you’re doing and are passionate about it, you need to bring 110% to the table,” says Vivica Brooks, Founder of TBG Trains, a workforce development organization. “It’s so wonderful to be validated and to have the support from Visa and know that we have the capital and expertise in place to serve more people. The money is amazing, but coaching is huge for long term growth.”

Local D.C. businesses also have the opportunity to receive Visa’s “commerce in a box,” a curated selection of offers, discounts and bundles from Visa and its partners designed to help small businesses with what they need to move their business forward digitally. Interested small business owners can visit here for more details.

From accepting digital payments or building an ecommerce site to providing online tools to run and protect their business, Visa wants to help ensure that small businesses not only survive, but also thrive, along with the communities they serve.

Grid of 11 small business owners

Congratulations to the Visa She’s Next Grant Program winners in Washington, D.C.:

  • Vivica Brooks, TBG Trains
  • Tayiana Reed, The Wellness Apothecary
  • Layo George, Wolomi
  • LaShawn Kenley, Sun Gods
  • Jennifer Carroll and Jessica Swift, Sauced
  • Ivy Armstrong, Fight Juice
  • Anne Beal, AbsoluteJOI Skincare
  • Asmara Sium, Creative Grounds DC
  • Pamela Sofola, A Beautiful Closet
  • Charmaine Jones, Food Jonezi

Additional winners will be announced later this year in each city in the revitalization program: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami. For more information on Visa’s She’s Next initiative and to subscribe to become a part of the global network, visit


Tag: Women’s Empowerment Tag: Digital commerce Tag: Payment technology Tag: Social Impact

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