|Visa kicks off new journey to support Female Vietnamese entrepreneurs |
“Women-owned businesses have strong optimism in the development journey, but to be ready for digital transformation, it is necessary to make adequate preparations,” said Dang Tuyet Dung, Visa’s country manager for Vietnam and Laos at a ceremony last week on the programme’s expansion.
“I believe that with the available entrepreneurial spirit and support from sponsorship and networking programs like She’s Next, they will have the best foundation to reach out to the world,” Dung added.
Before entering Vietnam, She’s Next started its first journey at the start of 2019 with training and connecting thousands of women entrepreneurs in markets with Visa’s footprint.
Since March 2020, She’s Next has awarded more than $1.6 million in 152 grants and coaching scholarships to owners of small- and medium-sized enterprises across the globe.
The grant programme is helping female entrepreneurs remove barriers on their business journey and generate more opportunities for them to participate in the economy through support in capital mobilisation and management for business expansion.
According to Visa’s assessment, women entrepreneurs are making an important and influential mark on the market but have not received the necessary support and equal development opportunities compared to men. Globally, just 10 per cent of new entrepreneurs are women, compared with 14 per cent of men.
While men and women business owners are on an equal legal footing, Visa estimates that women-owned enterprises are in need of about $1.19 billion of capital without having found funding sources.
In Vietnam, the contribution of women is vital, estimated to account for up to 40 per cent of total GDP growth and nearly 50 per cent of the total labour force, according to data from the Vietnam Women’s Union in 2019.
Despite leading Southeast Asia in the growth rate of women-owned businesses with 25 per cent by 2021, women’s access to financial resources is still limited. According to Visa Vietnam, only 37 per cent of women-owned businesses have accessed bank loans, compared to 47 per cent of male business owners.
In an effort to narrow the gap by providing capital to help women entrepreneurs realise their business goals, Visa will expand She’s Next in Vietnam before looking at the Middle East and other markets in Europe.
Through various contests, Visa Vietnam will select the top women-owned businesses to help them develop their businesses in the Vietnamese market as well as expand into others. Visa will also implement a number of other programmes related to training, sharing skills and knowledge in payment, capital mobilisation, and business governance.
Three winners will receive a $10,000 grant, along with a one-year IFundWomen Coaching membership as well as access to various resources.
In addition to working with IFundWomen, Visa Vietnam is also cooperating with others including the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council, the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam, and VietFintech Club to implement the She’s Next Grant programme.
“We hope that more and more organisations in Vietnam and the world will accompany the programme to provide the best development opportunities for women-owned businesses,” Dung shared.
To receive funding, participants are representing businesses that have been operating for at least 1 year and with at least 51 per cent of the equity owned by women. They can register to participate in the programme until April 29 this year.
The criteria for evaluating the winning female entrepreneurs are scored according to compelling business stories, business metrics, digital presence, social impact, and several other factors.
This grant programme builds on Visa’s commitment to digitally enable 50 million small businesses around the world to kickstart recovery from the ongoing pandemic. In Vietnam, Visa has encouraged consumers to support local businesses while helping smaller businesses to go digital to benefit from the surge in e-commerce while enhancing business efficiency.
As the trusted engine of commerce, Visa is also providing access to entrepreneurial knowledge and tools to unleash businesses in the digital era via Visa’s Practical Business Skills platform.