Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Africa
According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, owning an SME was challenging for women, who own or run more than a third of all SMEs in emerging markets, including Africa. Furthermore, data from the World Bank reveals new data about the disproportionate effects of lockdown measures on women-led SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa, where about 60% of women-led small businesses have lost their sources of income, three times more than men-led businesses.
Enabling Leading Women
Facts like these prompted Visa’s partnership with She Leads Africa (SLA), a platform that connects female entrepreneurs with the information and tools needed to create thriving community businesses. Through the She Leads Africa Spotlight series, Visa provided a platform for successful female entrepreneurs to tell their stories of transitioning to digital channels. The Visa and SLA partnerships also provided resources for female entrepreneurs to set up their own online store for free, whilst also learning skills and tools to effectively promote their businesses and accept online payments. In addition, the first 100 women SMEs to sign up won $200 worth of online advertising on the SLA platform.
Where You Shop Matters
Visa’s Where You Shop Matters Initiative is an example of how the company is helping MSMES, women entrepreneurs and consumers alike navigate necessary transactions by championing and enabling entrepreneurs in Africa, while encouraging consumers to support small businesses across the continent. This initiative also includes a novel SMB resource hub and a proprietary Visa COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker, which highlights the effects of the pandemic on commerce for consumers and small merchants in Africa. The Tracker monitors consumer and vendor sentiment, and offers insights into the evolving shopping landscape, thereby providing shoppers and MSMEs alike with the tools to make better decisions with their transactions. The SMB resource hub also goes a step further in highlighting leading merchants, entrepreneurs and champions of entrepreneurship across the continent.