Visa has announced that it plans to expand its global She’s Next initiative aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs in Africa. The initiative hopes to bring practical insights and valuable tools needed to grow and advance their businesses.

The initiative comprises a series of programs that offer women entrepreneurs access to insights via research and engagement with small businesses, private and public sector communities and educational resources. The initiative will also bring networking opportunities in partnership with She Leads Africa, a community of over 700,000 women entrepreneurs.

To coincide with the launch, Visa has unveiled new research titled Understanding Women Owned SMEs, which explores the role of technologies including digital payments. The research highlights the top business challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, the impact of COVID-19 on these business and how digital payments have accelerated business growth in over 80% of the businesses surveyed.

Key insights from the Visa Survey on African Women Entrepreneurs

  • Top business challenges: Lack of technological infrastructure, economic fluctuations and a regulatory environment were highlighted as the top business challenges for women entrepreneurs in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.
  • COVID-19’s impact on businesses: 7 out of 10 women-owned SMEs in SSA claim the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on their business revenue.
  • Digital payments accelerate business growth: The impact of introducing digital payments for businesses is positive, but the study shows room for improvement in adoption. 83% of respondents that did adopt digital payments experienced improvement in revenue.
  • E-commerce: Over 50% of women owned SMEs in Nigeria and Kenya have an ecommerce presence with a high likelihood of offering customers an option to pay online. At least 7 out of 10 women expect their customers use of ecommerce platforms to increase after the pandemic.


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