Visa Expands She’s Next Initiative in Africa, Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Digital Capabilities

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As the rate of female entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa continues to rise, Visa Expands its She’s Next global initiative to empower women entrepreneurs on the continent, bringing practical information and valuable tools needed to grow and advance their businesses.

The initiative includes a series of programs that enable women entrepreneurs to access information through research and engagement with small businesses, private and public sector communities, and educational resources. She’s Next, empowered by Visa, will also bring networking opportunities in partnership with She Leads Africa; one more community 700,000 women entrepreneurs, and finally financial support and solutions to enable digital capacity.

“According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, with 26% starting and running a business on the continent in the past year. Our goal is to encourage and enable greater participation of women in driving the economy, through our She’s Next initiative, ”said Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. “Our research shows that women-led businesses face unique challenges throughout their entrepreneurial journey, and we are committed to helping these business owners across Africa identify opportunities for growth.

Visa survey: African women entrepreneurs

The world Bank makes Africa home to 8 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, a market rich in opportunity and driven by women-owned businesses. The main findings of the Visa survey are as follows:

  • Main business challenges: Lack of technological infrastructure, economic fluctuations and a regulatory environment were highlighted as the main business challenges for women entrepreneurs in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
  • The impact of Covid-19 on businesses: 7 in 10 female-owned SMEs in SSA say the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on their business’ income.
  • Digital payments accelerate business growth: The impact of introducing digital payments for businesses is positive, but the study shows that adoption can still be improved. 83% of those surveyed who adopted digital payments saw an improvement in their income.
  • E-commerce: Over 50% of women-owned SMEs in Nigeria and Kenya have an e-commerce presence with a high probability of offering customers the option to pay online. At least 7 in 10 women expect their customers to use e-commerce platforms to increase after the pandemic.

Support the growth of small businesses around the world

As one of the largest electronic payment networks in the world, Visa provides products, services and programs that go beyond payment tools to deliver the value of the Visa network by helping small businesses be more competitive today and in the future. Visa believes that economies that include everyone uplift people everywhere and focus every day on access to digital commerce for buyers and sellers. For small businesses, Visa is taking action to bridge the access gap and be a payments network that really works for everyone.

So far, Visa has digitally enabled 16 million small and micro-enterprises (SMEs) around the world, just over 30% of the multi-year goal it set for 2020 to digitize 50 million SMEs. The Visa Foundation also announced $ 3,500,000 million in funding to organizations across sub-Saharan Africa that support small and microenterprises (SMEs). This funding includes grants and impact investments in programs that provide SMEs with training, support services and access to capital, from a gender perspective and diverse.

She’s Next in Sub-Saharan Africa will expand the reach and impact of this program. For more information on She’s Next, Empowered by Visa, visit She’s the next SSA learn more about Visa’s practical business skills here.

About Visa inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments worldwide and is capable of processing over 65,000 transaction messages per second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for anyone, anywhere. As the world shifts from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.


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