Visa Women’s Global Edition reflects company’s commitment to investment in women entrepreneurs
Visa recently hosted the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI): Women’s Global Edition, marking the first time the programme has focused on organisations with at least one woman founder or co-founder from around the world who are changing the world by solving business and social challenges.
The new global competition spotlighted the underrepresented millions of women business and social impact leaders, tasking them to solve a FinTech and—for the first time—a Social Impact challenge for a chance to win US$100,000/£79,029 per challenge along with mentorship, access to Visa products and programmes, and exposure to key participants in the commerce ecosystem. Nearly 1,300 applicants applied to participate in the programme.
Just before the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 kick-off, 12 finalists from six regions pitched their innovative solutions to a panel of judges. Two finalists, Tez Financial Services from Pakistan, represented by its co-founder and business head, Naureen Hyat, and Green Girls Organization from Cameroon, represented by its founder, Monique Ntumngia, were selected as the winners of the FinTech and Social Impact challenges, respectively.
“As the worldwide rate of female entrepreneurship continues to rise, the company is giving a voice to the collective strength of women who are creating impact in the global economy, spinning the flywheel of innovation from the bottom up—and we will continue to do so through investments and partnerships that enable women-founded businesses to thrive,” said Marianne Mwaniki, Senior Vice President of Social Impact at Visa.
“All of the finalists in this global Visa Everywhere Initiative are testaments to how diverse, women-owned businesses can grow, uplifting economies in communities across the globe, and we intend to provide them a platform to create connections and opportunities to succeed.”
The Women’s Global Edition is an extension of the established VEI programme and reflects the company’s commitment to investment in women entrepreneurs. Since the inception of the VEI in 2015, more than 6,000 startups have participated in 24 innovation programmes and have collectively raised more than US$2.5 billion/£1.98 billion in funding.
This year, Visa expanded the competition to include a global challenge for organisations with at least one woman founder to submit solutions that tackle the vast societal and business challenges facing social impact landscapes.
The FinTech competition measured how applicants leveraged their companies’ unique ability to solve or transform consumer and/or commercial payment experiences locally, regionally or globally. The FinTech winner Tez Financial Services is the first fully digital financial institution in Pakistan providing frictionless financial services to the unbanked and under-banked via a smartphone application.
“The Visa Everywhere Initiative has been a remarkable opportunity for Tez, Pakistan and our cause to enhance financial inclusion,” said Naureen Hyat, Co-founder and Business Head of Tez Financial Services.
“It has not only served as a driver for growth but has also allowed us to tap into the connectivity and numerous partners at Visa. I am honoured to be a part of such a thriving group of women entrepreneurs. All of these finalists have already achieved so much—I am excited to continue to be a witness to our growth collectively beyond this competition.”
The Social Impact Challenge sought women-led businesses around the world who are supporting sustainable and inclusive livelihoods and strengthening their local or regional economies. The Social Impact winner Green Girls Organization, is a non-governmental organisation that trains women and girls to harvest and create renewable energy from the sun and bio-waste.
“This opportunity will allow Green Girls to reach more women and girls and expand our footprint to provide renewable energy,” said Monique Ntumngia, Founder of Green Girls Organization. “The company’s network and support will not only help my organisation scale but will provide a number of rural African communities sustainable energy sources from the sun and bio-waste—creating a ripple effect of impact.”
Visa was a five-time global winner of the World Branding Awards in the Credit Card category.