Visa unveils victors in She’s Next Grant Program

August 22, 2022 | 09:29
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Digital payment giant Visa announced the winners of its inaugural She’s Next Grant Program in Vietnam last week, reinforcing its commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs in the country.

Through the extension of the global She’s Next Grant Program, three businesswomen from Vietnam received a grant of $10,000 and a year of business coaching through IFundWomen to support and grow their businesses.

Visa unveils victors in She’s Next Grant Program
Visa unveils victors in She’s Next Grant Program

The recent pandemic put a major strain on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent 97 per cent of the 800,000 businesses operating in Vietnam. Hampered by limited capital buffers and the reserves to overcome prolonged hardships, SMEs are often more agile and able to reinvent themselves, or were set up with disruption in mind.

“The past few years have been a watershed, as outdated businesses suffered while those who could embrace disruption thrived,” said Dung Dang, country manager of Visa in Vietnam and Laos. “We have seen many outstanding female entrepreneurs who demonstrated the necessary flexibility to succeed. We would like to provide greater visibility for their success, break down age-old stereotypes, and build a digital economy based on equity and inclusion. This is our goal with the programme, and I hope the continued success of our three women-owned SME winners will support this goal.”

Following its launch in April, the initiative received a wide variety of entries, from household businesses preserving age-old traditions to fully-fledged digital disruptors, with deep environmental, cultural, or social relevance, showcasing the diversity among local women entrepreneurs.

Three women-led companies were selected as the winners out of 10 Vietnamese finalists in the She’s Next Grant Program. The first was EQUO, founded by Marina Tran-Vu. EQUO is a sustainable brand providing 100 per cent plastic-free solutions for single-use products such as drinking straws, utensils, and dishware from natural materials that are compostable such as sugarcane, coffee, and coconut.

Another winner was Palmania JSC, co-founded by Diu Chau. The startup was established with an aim to revive the traditional craft of palmyra nectar production by the indigenous Khmer people. It is a company steeped in the cultural heritage of the southern province of An Giang, with the ultimate aim of enriching its minorities.

Tubudd JSC, co-founded by Annie Vu, was the third winner. The company is a platform that connects travellers with local experts to supercharge their holidays and business trips. With 1,000 locals from 12 countries waiting to be their guides, interpreters, or personal assistants, travellers can get a truly authentic glimpse of their destination.

The three winning businesses all had compelling stories and aim to resolve relevant real-life problems. They also have a strong digital presence and a tried and tested business model, with the potential to scale.

Since 2020, Visa has invested over $2.5 million in over 220 grants and coaching for female SME owners through the She’s Next Grant Program globally including the United States, Canada, India, Ireland, Egypt, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Vietnam is one of 10 new destinations for the programme, which supports female entrepreneurs in raising capital, managing their businesses, and developing their startups.

In Vietnam, Visa has been furthering its commitment by way of its extended Vietnam grant programme, and with initiatives like the SMB toolkit and Practical Business Skills programmes to support SMEs in driving efficiency and sales through the acceptance of digital payments and the expansion of businesses online.

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The three winners of the She's Next sponsorship programme launched by Visa for the first time in Vietnam will receive a grant of $10,000 each, along with the opportunity to participate in a training course and business networking.

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Visa has chosen Vietnam as one of 10 new destinations in its journey to support female entrepreneurs in capital mobilisation, business governance, and development through the She’s Next Grant programme.

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By Thanh Van

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