In April 2020, Visa Foundation launched the Equitable Access Initiative, a five-year, $200 million strategic commitment to support gender diverse and inclusive SMBs around the world. As a part of the initiative, we will provide $60 million in grants and $140 million in impact investments with a gender and diversity lens.
Visa Foundation believes that creating a capital continuum for SMBs is crucial for their sustainability and growth. As such, Visa Foundation aims to increase equitable and efficient access to capital at different stages of business growth, support gender diverse and inclusive small businesses, and promote inclusive economic growth. An additional goal is to influence the sector broadly to help move gender lens investing from niche to the mainstream.
Through its grant-making, Visa Foundation partners with organizations that provide capital, capacity building and support services to gender inclusive and diverse SMBs. Additionally, Visa Foundation uses grant funding to unlock barriers that prevent the flow of investment capital from reaching gender diverse SMBs.
Visa Foundation’s commitment to investing $140 million into intermediaries and funds globally is primarily focused on emerging markets, with a gender lens across the entire portfolio from SMB borrowers up to venture capital partners. The goal is to increase the number of women who control capital, the number of women entrepreneurs who can access that capital, and the number of women who benefit from those businesses as employees or customers.