Visa supports female and youth-led businesses in Southeast Asia

May 29, 2024 | 21:15
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A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that rural communities, women, and certain ethnic minority groups face barriers to realising the full uptake of digital options. Many frequently encounter growth hurdles due to cultural and institutional obstacles, coupled with a preference for informal financing.
Visa supports female and youth-led businesses in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia's youth, who constitute nearly a third of the region's population, along with the region's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which constitute 99 per cent of businesses, are key to economic growth. Visa is aiding this demographic by enhancing digital and financial literacy among female SME owners and young individuals.

Last year, Visa digitally enabled 10 million SMEs in Asia-Pacific, and the Visa Foundation has committed over $47 million to the region, helping support two million women-led SMEs and sustain 500,000 jobs. The foundation also recently pledged $100 million to APEC economies over the next five years.

Stephen Karpin, regional president of Asia Pacific at Visa, said, "Women and young people form a crucial engine propelling economic growth in Vietnam. Visa utilises our resources and vast network to give back to the communities we operate in, particularly in promoting digital and financial inclusion. We believe in the transformative power of providing individuals and communities with global access to digital financial tools. As a key partner in Southeast Asia's financial ecosystem, Visa is committed to reaching the most underserved communities, ensuring they too can reap the benefits of the digital economy."

Kelly Tullier, vice chair and chief people and corporate affairs officer at Visa, added, "We are dedicated to empowering women, particularly those running small businesses, to set themselves up for success. My recent trip to Vietnam reinforced how contributions within local communities are most impactful when done in concert with leaders on the ground. We met a Visa Foundation partner, the Women’s Initiative for Startups and Entrepreneurship Vietnam, which has supported 100,000 women entrepreneurs by granting them access to digital tools to grow their businesses. Meanwhile, Visa’s partnership with The Asia Foundation enables us to work with government agencies and microfinance institutions to support local businesses and help the digital economy thrive."

Visa and Visa Foundation forge strategic partnerships that help advance digitalisation and financial inclusion in communities across Southeast Asia.

The 'Accelerate My Business' initiative is a partnership between Visa, The Asia Foundation, and the Centre for Women and Development, that provides basic financial, business, and digital knowledge to Vietnam’s micro and SME owners in disadvantaged areas. The goal is to empower 25,000 female business owners in the next three years.

Furthermore, Visa supports households and ethnic minority communities in partnership with the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs via a three-year MoU signed with the State Bank of Vietnam last year, and the annual Financial Literacy Programme, established in 2012 with the Central Committee of the Vietnam Students’ Association, seeks to improve financial and business literacy in Vietnam.

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