Visa and Visa Foundation made these announcements as part of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum Economic Leaders and CEO Summit hosted in San Francisco on November 16-17.
Small businesses are the heartbeat of the global economy and of their local communities, representing about 90 per cent of businesses and more than half of employment worldwide. To accelerate access for underserved and women-led small and micro-sized businesses (SMBs) in APEC economies, the Visa Foundation has pledged $100 million over five years to advance digital financial inclusion, stimulate job creation, and increase access to capital to drive economic mobility.
Through this pledge, the Foundation will collaborate with and complement the work of local partners to drive access for underserved communities.
In parallel, Visa’s multi-year goal helped SMBs meet their evolving payment needs in an increasingly dynamic commerce ecosystem, focusing on digitising more ways to be paid by customers, ways to pay for supplies, goods and services, and providing access to financial skills through training and education. Visa has exceeded its three-year goal of digitally enabling 50 million SMBs globally by June 2023 and has now helped nearly 67 million SMBs.
Of the nearly 67 million SMBs reached by Visa, an estimated 29.6 million are from economies in the APEC region, including 10.9 million women-led SMBs.
Recognising the critical needs of SMBs, Visa announced new SMB accelerator initiatives in the United States and more than 15 developing economies.
Visa is prioritising economies that have clear digital development needs including APEC economies in Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines and Vietnam. In the economies where Visa will focus, cash still accounts for the majority of the ways businesses and individuals buy and sell and much of the population does not have access to digital payments.
“Small businesses are anything but small to Visa. Over the past three years, we’ve seen them shift from leveraging digital payments to survive, to now harnessing the power of digital to improve efficiency and reach new customers,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., executive chairman at Visa and co-chair of the APEC CEO Summit 2023.
“Visa is committed to continue expanding equitable access and extending digitalisation for underserved and women-led SMBs globally, so that payments can truly be a catalyst for growth.”
“SMBs form the core of Vietnam’s burgeoning economy, and Visa has been a proud supporter of facilitating their growth with secure and convenient digital payment solutions,” said Dung Dang, Visa's country manager for Vietnam and Laos.
“As part of our commitment, Visa will continue implementing innovative financial and payment solutions in supporting SMBs in Vietnam to help their businesses thrive.”
Visa has spearheaded an array of programmes to support SMBs in Vietnam. In 2023, Visa launched its SMB Accelerator Program which has helped 20,000 SMBs and partners. The expanded SMB Accelerator initiatives will also focus on a wider set of partnerships with ecosystem participants for smaller sellers and fast-track solutions deployment for SMBs.
Recently, Visa has been a strategic partner and sponsor of Base.vn Baas Day – one of Vietnam’s largest technology and business events – and share data-driven SMB insights with attendees. Meanwhile, Visa’s Financial Literacy Programme has run for the last ten years, and will continue strengthening the financial management skills of SMBs and ethnic minority groups in Vietnam.
Visa’s partnerships with various e-wallets in Vietnam has also benefited SMBs by providing more modes of payment that are beneficial to both businesses and consumers. Wallets serve as a crucial conduit for greater financial inclusion to reach populations that may not have access to traditional banking services.
Visa’s 50 million SMBs digital enablement milestone is just one piece of its and Visa Foundation’s ongoing commitment to help small and micro businesses thrive. Since April 2020, Visa Foundation has supported localised programmes and solutions to enable small business owners to meet the fast-changing needs of commerce, trade and consumers in different parts of the world.
Visa offers numerous payment services designed to help SMBs pay and get paid, and includes Visa Business credit and debit cards, rewards programmes, business and payment management tools, fraud and security services, among many other solutions. Visa also provides financial education and business skills training, including Practical Business Skills globally and Enko in Latin America.
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