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Visa Canada Announces Expansion of She's Next Grant Program to Support More Women-Owned Canadian Small Businesses

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Building on the success of the first Grant Program earlier this year in partnership with IFundWomen, Visa Canada will provide another 10 women entrepreneurs with grants and coaching to grow and expand their businesses

TORONTO, July 15, 2021 /CNW/ - Visa Canada announced today the extension of Visa's global She's Next Grant Program, bolstering the company's ongoing support of Canadian entrepreneurs. In collaboration with IFundWomen, ten additional women entrepreneurs in Canada will have the opportunity to apply for grants of $10,000 CAD each and receive mentorship for one year to support growing and expanding their business. Starting today until August 3, applications will be open to Canadian women entrepreneurs across all sectors at https://ifundwomen.com/visacanada.

Visa Canada (CNW Group/Visa Canada)
Visa Canada (CNW Group/Visa Canada)

Even as the country gradually reopens, small businesses in Canada continue to struggle because of the pandemic. A recent study by Visa revealed that 54 per cent of Canadian small businesses say this year has been a challenge and their businesses are still recovering.i A vast majority of small business owners anticipate measures implemented during COVID-19 are here to stay – 94 per cent agree customers will continue to expect them to be in place.ii

"The pandemic has impacted all small businesses across the country – but those run by women have been disproportionately impacted," said Stacey Madge, president and country manager, Visa Canada. "We were so inspired by the submissions of the first She's Next Grant Program early this year, that we decided to launch it again, to continue making a meaningful difference and help fuel the collective recovery of the small business community."

Most Canadians (66 per cent) also agree that women- and minority-owned small businesses in Canada were harder-hit by COVID-19 than other businesses. iii Of majority women-owned Canadian businesses, only 13 per cent expected sales to increase, and only 8 per cent expected profitability to increase by the second quarter of 2021, while 42 per cent expected profitability to decrease.iv In another Visa survey from earlier this year, 48 per cent of women-owned small business owners indicated a grant would be helpful for near-term survival or growth with more than 60 per cent stating a $10,000 grant would cover at least half of the financing needs.v

However, there are signs things are looking more hopeful as confidence grows among small business owners that better times are coming. Well over three-quarters (87 per cent) of Canadian small business owners say they are optimistic about the future of their business.vi Furthermore, 95 per cent say they are prepared to take on the influx of clients and customers, including in-person customers, as the country continues to re-open.vii

"Like many small businesses in Canada, we experienced setbacks due to the pandemic," said Rowan McAnoy, co-owner of CurlShoppe. "Since being named one of ten recipients of Visa's first She's Next Grant Program, our brand awareness has grown exponentially, and as a result, we've seen a huge uptick in sales. The financial resources are allowing us to acquire new equipment to assist in stabilizing and expanding our current production capabilities and we've begun to research eco-friendly alternatives to our plastic bottles."

To learn more and participate in the Visa She's Next Grant Program in partnership with IFundWomen, applicants are asked to submit details about their business and online presence, along with a short video about their business at ifundwomen.com/visacanada. Ten recipients will be selected from the shortlist and will receive grants of $10,000 CAD each plus coaching for a year (value at approximately $1,800 CAD) from leaders within the IFundWomen network.

"We're so grateful for partners like Visa Canada that have such an appreciation and commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs," said Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO at IFundWomen. "It's an honour to partner with them again for a second She's Next Grant Program, and we're confident that with this continued funding and resources, each women-led business will not only recover but come back stronger."

With the expansion of the She's Next Grant Program, Visa Canada aims to bolster its long-standing commitment to supporting small businesses, particularly those led by women entrepreneurs. Prior to the extension of Visa's global She's Next Grant Program, Visa Canada launched the Small Business Hub, offering new programs and solutions to enable SMBs to drive efficiency and sales through acceptance of digital payments and expanding businesses online.

About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. Our relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit visa.ca, visa.com/blog and @VisaCA.


i Wakefield Research study for Visa 2021

ii Wakefield Research study for Visa 2021

iii Wakefield Research study for Visa 2021

iv StatsCan Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, first quarter of 2021

v Visa Canada Small Business Outlook Spring Survey, January 2021

vi Wakefield Research study for Visa 2021

vii Wakefield Research study for Visa 2021

SOURCE Visa Canada


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