Visa celebrates the story behind the numbers driving success for women in business and sport with US$500,000 in small business grants.
Numbers permeate every aspect of business and sport, telling a story of inspiration, perseverance, and growth: a jersey number, goals scored, capital raised. Visa will celebrate the numbers, and the stories behind them, throughout this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023, including a few changing the game for women at the tournament and across the globe: US$500,000, 32, and 64.
Today, Visa, Worldwide FIFA Women’s Football Partner, announced a first-ever extension of the coveted Visa Player of the Match athlete award to support women-owned small businesses (WSMB) with US$500,000 in total grant funding across the 64 matches and potentially 32 qualifying countries.
“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.” said Frank Cooper, chief marketing officer of Visa.
One Athlete, One Woman Business Owner, One Inspiring Moment
The Visa Player of the Match trophy is awarded at each of the 64 matches to the player whom fans vote to be the most outstanding of the match. At FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, audiences watching at home will once again have the opportunity to celebrate the women on the pitch and for the first time, help elevate women in business at the same time.
Building up to the final match, Visa will award 64 grants to women small businesses from the same country as the national team represented by the winning footballer. Whether a player from host countries Australia and New Zealand, first-time entrant Panama or a veteran from the defending champion U.S. team, a woman small business owner in the Player of the Match country the athlete represents will receive a grant to help towards her own goals. The funding ranges in value from US$5,000 for the 48 first round matches up to US$50,000 for the final. The winning small businesses will be announced live at the athlete trophy presentation.
With Australia and New Zealand leading the match schedule with opening games falling on July 20 (New Zealand vs Norway and Australia vs Ireland), both host teams are in great stead to see home-grown, women-owned small businesses receive grants.
A number that points to success: 82 per cent
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 per cent) 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 per cent of WSMB owners agreed that overcoming adversity in sports prepares people to tackle the most difficult situations in business.
· 89 per cent 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 survey 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.”
Visa is committed to empowering women across its organisation 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, the first standalone sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football, and sponsor of national teams including the U.S. Soccer Federation and Mexican Football Federation.
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