Visa Launches Initiative to Empower Women-Owned Small Businesses during FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

By: GWL Team | Monday, 3 July 2023

As the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 approaches, Visa, the Worldwide FIFA Women's Football Partner, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative to support women-owned small businesses (WSMB) during the tournament. The program, announced on 3rd July, 2023, involves granting a total of US$500,000 to WSMBs throughout the 64 matches and potentially 32 qualifying countries.

Recognizing the need for action and resources in promoting equity, Visa aims to utilize the world's largest stage for women's sports to drive change and uplift businesses in the home countries of each game's Player of the Match. This means that at each of the 64 games, the player who delivers the best performance, as voted by the fans, will be awarded the Visa Player of the Match trophy. But this time, there's an added twist: the player's national team's winning country will have a female small business owner receive a grant to assist in achieving her business objectives.

The grant funding will range from US$5,000 for each of the 48 matches in the first round to US$50,000 for the championship match. Prior to the championship game, Visa will announce and present grants to 64 female small businesses in the nation associated with the winning player's national team. This initiative not only recognizes the outstanding athletes on the pitch but also supports and advances women in business.

Australia and New Zealand, as the host nations dominating the match schedule, are poised to see funds awarded to local women-owned small businesses. The inaugural matches between New Zealand and Norway, as well as Australia and Ireland, are set to take place on July 20, kicking off what promises to be a tournament filled with excitement and opportunities for both athletes and entrepreneurs.

Visa's commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs and their participation in the global economy has led to the development of this program. According to a Wakefield Research study commissioned by Visa, which involved 5,000 individuals and 2,250 small business owners across ten markets, 82% of WSMB owners believe that sports participation influences a person's ability to succeed in business. The study also revealed that strategic thinking, teamwork, communication, and leadership were the top four business skills that WSMB owners believed could be gained through sports participation. Furthermore, 81% of respondents stated that individuals who have overcome adversity in athletics are better equipped to handle challenging business circumstances, and 89% believed that sports can help children develop skills essential for future professional success.

Natalie Lockwood, head of marketing for Visa in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, highlighted the challenges faced by business owners in accessing capital locally in Australia and New Zealand. By expanding the Visa Player of the Match athlete award, Visa aims to address these challenges while honoring and encouraging female athletes off the pitch and supporting women-owned companies that drive the economy.

Visa's commitment to supporting women extends beyond this initiative, with the company championing equality, inclusion, and community development through its involvement in women's football. As the first single sponsor of UEFA Women's Football, the U.S. Soccer Federation, and the Mexican Football Federation, as well as the first FIFA Women's Football Partner and UEFA Women's Football Partner, Visa has been at the forefront of promoting women's football for over 15 years.

As the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 gets underway, Visa's initiative to empower women-owned small businesses adds a new dimension to the tournament, celebrating both the achievements of female athletes and the contributions of women in business. With this groundbreaking program, Visa continues to pave the way for greater opportunities and recognition for women globally.