A partnership between Visa and the Commercial International Bank to launch the global initiative “She is Next”

Visa, the world leader in digital payments, NYSE (V) today announced the launch of its global She’s Next initiative in Egypt to economically empower and support female entrepreneurs and small and medium business owners.

The initiative was launched in partnership with the Commercial International Bank (CIB), one of the largest banks in the Egyptian private sector, and the United States International Development Agency (USAID), where the world’s leading international development agency the catalyst is development results. She’s Next is a global support program that provides practical guidance and tools needed for small businesses run by women to thrive, from networking and consulting opportunities to financing opportunities.

Since 2020, Visa has invested more than $ 2.2 million in grants and training programs for women entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners worldwide through the “She’s Next” grant program in many countries, including Canada, India and Ireland.

Businesswomen across the Arab Republic of Egypt can join the initiative, apply for funding and access a network of entrepreneurs and educational referrals collected by Visa by drawing from the results of a recent study focusing on the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. The following is an overview of the most important findings of the study:

• The majority of women (69%) indicated that obtaining funding for their projects was a major challenge, while 77% of them relied on their personal savings to launch their projects. 53% of them said the biggest problem is finding a partner for the project, and 4 out of 6 women were concerned about the long-term viability of their beginners.
• Three out of 10 women (32%) confirmed that society’s view of women negatively affects their work as female entrepreneurs, and 80% of them said that the societal view plays a role in their choice of their projects.
• 2 out of 3 women indicated that they accept cash and non-cash payments from customers. More than half (53%) expressed their intention to take advantage of additional funding to invest in new advertising and marketing technologies.
• Financial independence was the main motivation for women to start their companies, followed by the desire to realize their dreams; The ability to make the most of their time, and the opportunity to take initiative, lead a team and make decisions for which they will take responsibility to influence their business.

The aspects that the women entrepreneurs wanted to learn more about include setting profitable goals for their businesses; how to develop stronger strategies; And ways to avoid the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the “She’s Next” initiative includes a range of mentorship programs that will allow women entrepreneurs to benefit from the practical experiences of prominent public and private sector leaders, as well as valuable scientific tools and references they need to to develop their companies.

Through the new partnership agreement between the U.S. Agency for International Development and Visas, the “She’s Next” initiative will provide participating women with unique opportunities to network and interact with stakeholders and work to empower women-led small, medium and micro- to empower enterprises (MSMEs). This partnership will also facilitate the use of electronic payment platforms to enhance financial inclusion and promote inclusive economic growth, and through this collaboration hundreds of MSMEs will receive capacity building training, opportunities to join online markets, digitize their supply chains and digital launch payment systems for their customers. E-commerce opportunities will also be expanded to provide more economical opportunities, especially for small businesses run by women.

Malak Al Baba, General Manager of Visa Egypt, said: “Women who own businesses or hold management positions face many extraordinary challenges, including access to capital, communication with peers, as well as social pressures. That’s why we’m excited to support and empower women entrepreneurs across Egypt through the She’s Next Grant program and provide access to training and support through IFundWomen as well as a $ 10,000 grant fund.

We are also honored to work with the Commercial International Bank and the United States International Development Agency, which will assist Visa in its mission to empower not only female entrepreneurs and SMEs, but also a supportive create an environment in which they can grow and flourish. ”

In a related context, Mr. Hani El-Deeb, Head of Credit Sectors, Products and Relationships for Small and Medium Enterprises at CIB, expressed his pride in this partnership, which is in line with CIB’s strategy to support and empower small and medium enterprises women. He added that through this initiative, the bank seeks to maximize the benefit of VISA’s network of international partners and the strength of its brand to raise awareness of the importance of the role of women entrepreneurs in economic development, through them. support with an appropriate financial allocation and provide the necessary tools to grow and develop their businesses.

Mark Driver, acting USAID mission director, said: “This partnership underscores the US Government’s commitment to empowering and supporting women, and through the partnership between USAID and Visa, five Egyptian women-led companies will have the opportunity to receive an award. “from $ 10. Thousands of US dollars to grow their business. Hundreds of women entrepreneurs will also gain new skills through training, and will have access to learning resources to take their careers and businesses to the next level.”

In addition to collaborating with CIB and USAID as local partners, She’s Next is supported by Visa’s global partner IFundWomen, a funding and education platform designed to support female entrepreneurs. This will provide them with excellent training and workshops under the supervision of elite entrepreneurs, and opportunities to network with their peers, in addition to training programs and a forum on the Slack platform for communication, and a series of educational videos specifically designed to to support women who own small businesses, with the aim of developing offerings and the content of their work.

This program aims to support Visa’s vision to digitally empower 50 million small businesses around the world, with the goal of helping them recover from the Corona pandemic. As the trusted engine of commerce, Visa also provides access to knowledge and tools for entrepreneurship in the digital age through the Business Skills PBS platform. She’s Next will further support small businesses, with a focus on empowering promising female entrepreneurs.

It is noteworthy that Visa has invited female entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium-sized businesses in Egypt from all sectors to participate in the “Visa She’s Next” program. The winning companies will receive educational workshops and a set of ongoing guidance and guidance over the course of an entire year from the IFundWomen platform to help grow their business, knowing that the application window is open until July 20, 2022. For more information and details please click here.

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