Visa the largest digital payment service in the world, along with the FIFA Women’s World Cup, has announced a first-ever extension of the coveted Visa Player of the Match athlete award to support women-owned small businesses (WSMB) with $500,000 in total grant funding across the 64 matches and potentially 32 qualifying countries.
Throughout the tournament leading up to the final match, Visa plans to award 64 grants to women-owned small businesses from the winner of the Woman of the Match award home country. Whether it’s a first-time entrant like Panama or a seasoned veteran from the defending champions, United States team, a woman small business owner will receive a grant to support her own goals.
Mr. Andrew Uaboi, Vice President and Head of Visa West Africa, expressed excitement about this milestone, stating, “Visa understands equity requires action and resources. We’re excited to use the world’s biggest stage for women’s sports to put the power for change into the athlete’s performance – and uplift a business in the home country of each game’s Player of the Match.”
In Nigeria’s case, if Barcelona forward, Asisat Oshaola, wins any of the awards, a woman business owner in the country will be rewarded. The funding ranges in value from $5,000 for the 48 first-round matches up to $50,000 for the Women’s World Cup final. The winning small businesses will be announced live at the athlete trophy presentation
Mr. Uaboi further emphasized the importance of this initiative for Nigeria, saying:
“Nigeria is one of the leading African countries with the highest number of female entrepreneurs. We are passionate about using this initiative to create a positive impact on society, in addition to advancing the growth of women-owned small businesses in our region. We also see this as an opportunity to inspire young girls to dream big and pursue their passion for the beautiful game,”
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Visa’s commitment at the Women’s World Cup
The Visa Player of the Match trophy is presented at each of the 64 matches of he Women’s World Cup. It will be presented to the player who receives the most votes from fans as the standout performer. During this year’s tournament, scheduled to hold from July 20 to August 20, viewers at home will have the chance to celebrate the remarkable women on the pitch and, for the first time, contribute to the elevation of women in business.
This initiative stems from Visa’s multi-year commitment to help women entrepreneurs access crucial financial resources and empower inclusion in the global economy. Supporting women in sport is important for future business success.
According to a survey of 5,000 adults and 2,250 small business owners in 10 markets conducted by Wakefield Research for Visa:
Eight in ten (82%) WSMB owners agreed participating in sports impacts a person’s success in business.
- Top four business skills the WSMB owners identified business leaders can develop by participating in sports were strategic thinking, teamwork, communication, and leadership.
- 81% of WSMB owners agreed that overcoming adversity in sports prepares people to tackle the most difficult situations in business.
- 89% of women surveyed agreed that children can develop skills vital to future professional success by participating in sports.
Visa’s Head of Marketing for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific. Natalie Lockwood said, “This global survey1 also showed that locally in Australia and New Zealand, access to capital remains a challenge for business owners. The extension of the Visa Player of the Match athlete award is a new way for Visa and football fans to celebrate and support women both on and off the pitch, shining a spotlight on these outstanding athletes and the women-led businesses powering our economy.”
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Visa noted that it is committed to empowering women across its organization and through its brand support. For more than 15 years, Visa’s investment in women’s football has advocated for equity, inclusion, and creating meaningful connections with athletes, fans, and communities around the world.
Visa is the first FIFA women’s football partner through the Women’s World Cup, the first standalone sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football, and a sponsor of national teams, including the US Soccer Federation and Mexican Football Federation.