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Visa and Visa Foundation announces new initiatives to support of minority-led small businesses

By Pavithra R

December 17, 2020

  • USA
  • VISA
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Visa and Visa Foundation announces new initiatives to support of Minority-led SMBs
Graham Macmillan, president, Visa Foundation

Visa Foundation, building on Visa’s long-term commitment to small and micro businesses (SMBs) community has announced new initiatives to provide nearly $5 mn in capital to minority-led SMBs, amid the second wave of COVID-19.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 99.7% of all U.S. private-sector employers are small businesses, and nearly 7 out of 10 American jobs are at a small business. With this scale, it’s easy to understand the importance of this segment and how it fuels the U.S. economy. Supporting SMBs has been an urgent priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Visa has also announced mentorship programs to further support minority-led SMBs.

According to Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) ’s white paper: Supporting Social Equity by Boosting Small Businesses, that Black and African American-owned businesses experienced a bigger drop in business ownership (41%) than other businesses. The paper details the historical trends and systemic barriers that are exacerbating the current state of Black-owned SMBs across the U.S. It outlines policy measures to address these barriers, focused on helping businesses survive, investing in equity in education and targeted opportunities, such as training and scholarship programs.

To further help the community, Visa Foundation commits the following:

  • $3 mn to Black Ambition, a racial equity and entrepreneurship initiative launched by producer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams in partnership with five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
  • $1.5 mn to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to increase SMBs resiliency for women entrepreneurs of color directly impacted by the pandemic.
  • $300,000 to VC Include, a Women of Color-led organization building economic justice infrastructure for Black, Latinx, people of color, Indigenous, and women-led funds through education and training programs to support their fundraising journey and build relationships with Limited Partners.

“The capital gap for entrepreneurs of color must be closed if we are to achieve inclusive economic growth for everyone, everywhere. Visa Foundation is privileged to partner with these organizations that are addressing this funding and opportunity gap by helping them to empower women, Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. These grants represent just the beginning of our commitment to allocate capital, both grants and investments, to gender and racially-diverse investors and entrepreneurs,” said Graham Macmillan, president, Visa Foundation.

Additionally, Visa launched a Visa employee mentorship program with Bridge for Billions, whereby Visa employees will mentor Black, primarily women-owned SMBs on a 3-month incubation journey to help them review their business and create a growth plan for their venture and much more. These new initiatives build on Visa’s commitment to racial equity and support of SMBs during the pandemic, including the Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program, the expansion of Practical Business Skills, a financial and digital skills education platform, and the Visa’s grant program with IFundWomen, which awarded 25 $10,000 grants and IFundWomen coaching to Black women owned SMBs. 

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