Visa has pledged $1 million to United Way Mumbai (UWM) to empower women-owned and women-focused businesses over the next three years. The goal of the project, which will be carried out in 170 villages and towns throughout the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, is to equip participants with long-lasting, sustainable skills for entrepreneurship. The project intends to educate over 8,500 women and provide them with access to financial services beneficial to their businesses and communities.
Sandeep Ghosh, group country manager, India & South Asia, Visa, said, “At Visa, we have strongly advocated and supported the growth of small businesses particularly those focused on women. Our partnership with United Way Mumbai will impart financial and entrepreneurship skills to women from communities that do not enjoy the same access and privileges as many others. As women get empowered, so do the communities they represent. We look forward to this partnership making meaningful contributions to deserving communities in times to come.”
The Visa-UWM project will target three core impact areas: access to knowledge and services for financial inclusion, entrepreneurship development, and formation of sustainable self-help groups.
George Aikara, CEO, United Way Mumbai, said, “We at United Way Mumbai, strongly believe that India’s growth story is incomplete without the equal participation of women. Our efforts aim to address the barriers that exist to women’s participation in the social and economic spheres. We are elated to work with Visa as they share our commitment to democratizing the financial ecosystem by bringing women into it and we look forward to the support of this partnership in bringing that to fruition.”
Visa has previously helped women-owned businesses in India by offering grants through its iFundWomen programme. Recent initiatives include empowering female micro-entrepreneurs nationwide in the wake of the pandemic and pledging to support 50 million small and medium-sized businesses globally in going online and future-proofing their operations. In order to help 75% of women-owned businesses, Visa teamed with Hand in Hand International to donate $2.4 million over three years as part of its mission to support the growth of enterprises. In order to support female entrepreneurs, Visa also unveiled its ‘She’s Next’ campaign for women-owned small businesses in 2019.