Morocco, 20 June 2022 - Visa, the world's leader in digital payments, today announced the launch of its global She's Next initiative in Morocco to economically empower local women entrepreneurs and SMB owners. The initiative is launched in partnership with Societe Generale, one of Morocco’s largest banks. She's Next empowered by Visa is a global advocacy program that brings practical insights and tools to women-led small businesses, including networking, mentoring and funding opportunities.
Since 2020, Visa has invested +$2.2M in over 200 grants and coaching for women SMB owners through She’s Next grant program globally including in US, Canada, India and Ireland.
Women business owners across Morocco can join She’s Next and apply for funding and access peer networks and educational resources that help to address the challenges revealed in a recent Visa study of women entrepreneurs. Key findings include:
- Half of the women – 50% – said getting funding for their ventures had been a challenge with 69% using their personal savings to start their businesses. Forty (40%) also cited finding a business partner as a key challenge with nearly four in 10 women concerned about the long-term success of their startups.
- Nearly half the women (48%) admitted that gender stereotypes have negatively affected their work as an entrepreneur, with 85% saying they felt that societal approval or disapproval played a role in their choice of career or business.
- Eight in 10 women said they currently accept both cash and cashless payments from their customers. Nearly one-third of women said they would use the additional funding to invest in new technologies (34%), increase the security of doing business online (33%), expand their team (33%) and create new products and enter new markets (33%).
- Being financially independent ranked as the top motivation when starting a business followed by achieving a balance between work and home, their ability to make use of their time and to create their own team of professionals.
The areas female entrepreneurs said they wanted to learn more about were how to better set goals for profitability of their businesses, how to develop stronger strategies, and ways to survive the continuing impact of COVID-19. The She's Next initiative includes a series of mentoring programs that provide women entrepreneurs with access to practical insights from women leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as valuable tools and educational resources they need to grow and develop their businesses.
Leila Serhan, Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for the North Africa, Levant, and Pakistan Visa, commented: “Women who own and manage businesses face a unique set of challenges including access to capital and peer networks as well as societal pressures. That’s why we’re excited to help women business-owners across Morocco today through the first She’s Next grant program and offer access to coaching and support through IFundWomen as well as that injection of USD10,000 in capital. We are also honored to be partnering with Societe Generale, who will help us in our mission to not only empower women entrepreneurs, but also create for them a supportive environment in which they can grow and thrive."
Mr. Ahmed Elyacoubi, President de Societe Generale Maroc, said: “Growth and inclusion are closely intertwined, especially when it comes to women’s contribution to value creation. This is why it was important for us to partner with Visa on this initiative that is being rolled-out for the first time in Morocco. She’s Next program offers networking, mentoring as well as funding opportunites to the program's winners as a way to provide woman entrepreneurs in Morocco the opportunity to fully express their potential.”
This new grant program builds on Visa’s commitment to digitally enable 50 million small businesses around the world to kickstart recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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. The Visa She’s Next Grant Program will further support small businesses, with a particular focus on unlocking the potential of the most promising women entrepreneurs.
Women entrepreneurs in the Morocco from all industries and sectors are invited to participate in the Visa She's Next Grant Program. The winner will receive one of five $10,000 grants, a one-year IFundWomen coaching membership, and access to resources such as the workshop library and community of entrepreneurs. Applications are open now through July 20, 2022. For more information and details click here.