Visa commits to support 10 million small businesses across Asia Pacific

Ng Kong Boon, Visa Country Manager of Malaysia

Visa has announced a commitment to support 10 million small businesses across Asia Pacific in an effort to get local communities back to business in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will be introducing a range of programmes and solutions to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) drive efficiency and sales by accepting and making payments digitally to meet increased demand for cashless payments – both online and in-store. Visa also formed the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) focused on economic and societal issues, including pandemic challenges SMEs face and closing racial and gender opportunity gaps.

The 10 million pledge is part of a global program that will see Visa supporting 50 million small businesses worldwide. Small businesses will play a vital role in helping communities recover – they account for more than half of global employment and are among the most affected by the pandemi. In Asia Pacific, SMEs account for more than 90 per cent of businesses and employ 50 percent of the workforce.

To help small businesses, Visa is focusing initially on four strategic areas to promote digital commerce and economic growth, with plans to continue to create products and services as the needs of entrepreneurs change over time.

Visa is also teaming up with leading e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and Boutir to help local businesses get online. It will be expanding its global partnership with IFundWomen to Asia Pacific, providing grants and digital training to women-owned small businesses in India.

Furthermore, Visa is working to introduce low-cost digital payments acceptance, including solutions that do not require point-of-sale systems and can enable a merchant’s mobile phone to become a payment terminal. Visa and our partners have launched tap to phone solutions in Malaysia, with more Asia Pacific markets such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and Vietnam to follow.

Visa is also supporting SMEs to make business-to-business (B2B) payments digitally. By digitalising procurement payments through the use of a Visa Business Card, SMEs can utilise reconciliation tools and benefit from higher efficiency and data insights, in addition to managing their working capital effectively. Visa has curated special partner offers for SMEs using these business cards, which include access to cloud accounting platforms, digital marketing and professional courses.

It has launched its new ‘Where You Shop Matters’ initiative in Australia and New Zealand that champions and enables entrepreneurs while encouraging consumers to support small businesses. Visa will be expanding the initiative to other Asia Pacific markets such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

In addition to the initiatives Visa is undertaking, the company today announced the formation of the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute. This new institute comprises Visa experts and partners who will help address underlying problems and provide insights for SMEs growth and closing racial and gender gaps. Key projects in the next six months will address topics including post-crisis recovery and resilience, urban mobility, closing equality opportunity gaps and insights into the gig economy.

Today’s announcement follows a global commitment from the Visa Foundation announced in April, to provide $210 million in Covid-19 relief funding to address the longer-term needs of the small and micro business community over the next five years.

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