At each of the 64 matches taking place between now and August 20, Visa will be awarding a top-performing player with its ‘Player of the Match’ prize, as voted by fans.
Women are winning on and off the pitch during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ with Visa kicking off a new initiative to support female small business owners.
The company has pledged US$500,000 in small business grants for women entrepreneurs under an extension to the Visa Player of the Match athlete award.
At each of the 64 matches taking place between now and August 20, Visa will be awarding a top-performing player with its ‘Player of the Match’ prize, as voted by fans. A women small-business owner in the Player of the Match country the athlete represents will receive a grant to help her towards her goals.
With a Kiwi player winning Player of the Match in the first match, they have already brought home a women-owned small business grant to New Zealand.
Visa’s Head of Marketing for Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific Natalie Lockwood said the initiative stems from Visa’s understanding that equity requires actions and resources.
“We’ve certainly seen that in recent years when it comes to women in sport. It’s why Visa has championed women in sport for more than 20 years and why we’re committed to supporting women in business.”
Visa firmly believes that sport is a powerful platform for promoting gender equality, and not only for the players, adds Lockwood.
“Importantly, it’s also empowering for women and girls right around the world who are watching the games and cheering on the women on the pitch,” she says.
Lockwood says the Player of the Match initiative also aims to tackle a key barrier women-owned businesses face – lack of access to capital.
“We know that women small-business owners are still struggling when it comes to access to capital,” she says. “Visa is proud and excited to be able to financially support women via these grants.”
Visa’s Player of the Match initiative comes after a survey that found nearly 90 percent of women respondents who own a small business in Australia and New Zealand said participation in sports had an impact on their business success.
In the same survey of 5000 adults and 2,250 small business owners, commissioned by Visa and conducted by Wakefield Research in 10 markets, the top four business skills identified as being gained from sports were teamwork, strategic thinking, communication skills, and confidence.
The survey also found that 81 percent of respondents agreed that overcoming adversity in sports can help prepare people to tackle difficult business decisions.
“There are so many parallels between playing a sport and running a small business,” says Lockwood. “Both athletes and business owners are always working hard towards a goal, they can suffer setbacks along the way, they have to be able to work well with others and learn from their mistakes – it’s all from the same playbook.”
In addition to the Visa Player of the Match initiative, Visa is also bringing its global She’s Next program to Australian and New Zealand businesses during the tournament on August 11. She’s Next is a global Visa program that supports women entrepreneurs around the world and works to close gaps with educational tools, mentorship and meaningful funding.
Ten finalists from across Australia and New Zealand will pitch their businesses at an event in Sydney for grants totalling A$65,000.
“Access to that capital can make a real difference to getting women entrepreneurs up and going and giving them the confidence and support they need to keep kicking goals in the business world.”
The record-breaking ticket sales for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ shows real progress has been made in women’s sport, says Lockwood. “We are seeing that rising tide of support and this is an opportunity to use the world’s biggest stage for women’s sports to put the power for change into the athlete’s performance – and shine a light on the inspiring women entrepreneurs powering our economy.”
Other Visa initiatives to support women on and off the pitch include: the Second Half, a career development program to support female players in Europe; the Year13 & Visa PlayOn platform, an initiative to tackle the trend of New Zealand girls dropping out of sport; and Team Visa, a program designed to help athletes succeed in their athletic career and beyond.
The group of 38 women football football players, which includes Football Ferns player Claudia Bunge, represents the largest number of women footballers in Team Visa’s history.
To about how Visa is in the business of helping women win on and off the pitch and their support for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ visit visa.co.nz