Visa Digitally Enables 16 Million SMBs on Path to Reaching 50 Million Goal Worldwide

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 21 September 2021 13:05

New Visa research shows how essential digital capabilities are for SMBs to compete in a post pandemic world

Amidst record rise of entrepreneurism, a new class of digitally-native small businesses emerge

Georgia, Tbilisi – September 21, 2021 – Visa (NYSE: V) today announced it has helped to digitally-enable an estimated 16 million small and micro businesses (SMBs) worldwide, or just over 30% of the multi-year goal it set in 2020 to digitize 50 million SMBs. Since the start of the pandemic, Visa has launched community-based programs from Dubai to DC, to help more small businesses accept digital payments and gain greater access to the digital economy. The necessity for SMBs to continue to digitally accelerate is underscored by the 5th edition of the Visa Back to Business global study released today, which found that 68% of consumers say COVID-19 has permanently changed how they will pay.

“With a 19-month view into the pandemic, we’ve seen that small businesses who embraced digital commerce and cross-border sales have weathered the pandemic better,” said Mary Kay Bowman, global head of buyer, seller, core and platform products, Visa. “But it’s no longer just about pivoting and surviving. We’re now seeing a hopeful surge in entrepreneurship, and as we march toward our goal of 50 million, we’re helping a new breed of business owner come online as digitally-native for the first time.”

Visa Back to Business Study: A Global Pulse on Payment Preferences

The Visa Back to Business global research study has surveyed SMB owners and their customers since the onset of the global pandemic. With an extensive body of sentiment data accumulated through five editions, findings from the newest study highlight the economic opportunity that lies in connecting SMBs, communities and technology:

  • SMBs Still Working to Meet Consumer Expectations: The pandemic has dramatically increased consumers’ concern with touching cash and payment readers and correspondingly, increased the desire to tap to pay[1]. Seventy-four (74%) percent of SMBs around the world expect customers will continue to prefer contactless payments as much as, or more than they do now, with two in five (40%) SMBs citing contactless among the top investments needed to meet customer expectations.
  • Contactless as a Competitive Edge: Stores that don’t accept contactless payments could run an increased risk of losing customers as a result. More than two in five (44%) consumers say they wouldn’t shop at a store that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or shared device.
  • Prioritizing Online Security: One year ago, just 17% of US SMBs started selling products or services online for the first time during COVID-19 and now, 57% expect to continue to do so in the next three months. Yet, many SMBs surveyed said the shift presented new challenges with the top concerns cited as data privacy and security (33%), cost to invest in digital infrastructure (31%) and having less of a personal connection with customers (30%).
  • Opportunity Knocks for New, Digitally-Savvy SMBs: While 54% of SMBs say the past year has been a challenge for their business, 46% have viewed it as an opportunity, up from 38% in November 2020. Among those who saw 2020 as an opportunity, their focus has been on new products (37%) and expanding their sales channels (34%), with 23% having started a completely new business.

Unlocking Access to the Digital Economy

Recognizing thatgreater digitization of commerce can bring enormous benefits to small businesses, Visa seeks to bring increased digital equity and inclusivity to the world through its multi-year commitment to digitally enable 50 million SMBs. With 3.4 million new U.S. business applications filed in the first seven months of 2021 alone[2], Visa’s efforts are focused on ensuring both existing and newly minted small businesses are well-equipped to meet changing consumer demands and embrace the digital future.

From London to North Dakota, Visa has directed resources to SMBs through dozens of programs tailored to fit the needs of local communities. Among them, Visa has committed more than $1 million in hyperlocal grants to U.S. SMB owners who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, deployed Small Business Street Teams to 900,000 businesses in 18 markets, and transformed payment acceptance in 49 markets with Visa Tap to Phone, which enables sellers to accept contactless payments through a simple mobile app. Visa also expanded its global digital education platform for entrepreneurs, Practical Business Skills, which delivers free education resources to SMB owners and to support the digital transformation of their businesses. This builds on a $200 million, 5-year commitment from the Visa Foundation made in 2020 to support SMBs around the world, with a focus on fostering women’s economic advancement.

Visa will continue to celebrate the expansive role SMBs play within local communities and the global economy, starting with the launch of a new digital series today, “Voices of Access,” featuring SMB customers from around the world sharing their unique stories and empowering others to see the possibilities of the digital economy.

More information on the programs Visa has made available to small and micro businesses is available on the Visa Small Business Hub and the Visa Small Business COVID-19 support site.

Methodology: Visa Back to Business Study

The Visa Back to Business Study: 5th Edition, was conducted by Wakefield Research between June 15-28, 2021, among 2,250 small business owners at companies with 100 employees or fewer in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and United States. The consumer portion surveyed 1,000 adults ages 18+ in the U.S., and 500 adults ages 18+ in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.

About Visa Inc.

 Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere.  As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa, www.visa.com.ge,  https://www.facebook.com/VisaGeorgiaGE.



[1] Source: US Contactless Online Research Study April 2020

[2] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Business Formation Statistics

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    Tbilisi, September 21, 2022 – Visa launches the third wave of She’s Next, Empowered by Visa in Georgia and in partnership with Business Federation Women for Tomorrow announces a public business contest for women entrepreneurs in Georgia. Women entrepreneurs are invited to share their business ideas in the competition for free mentoring sessions and money prizes, namely the first-place winner will be awarded with 25 000 Gel and the second-place winner with 15 000.  

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    I am proud, that Visa established the tradition in Georgia of continuing support of female SMBs within the global initiative She’s Next, Empowered by Visa. We are extremely happy to announce the third wave of the campaign and conduct the joint contest with w4t, aiming to empower women entrepreneurs in Georgia. Within the contest, we invite women, who lead startup, or have an interesting business idea, eager to learn pitching techniques for allocating solid money prizes. I strongly encourage each and every woman, aspiring to put down roots in the world of business,to take part in this promising initiative and become part of the She’s Next” - said Diana KiguradzeVisa Country Manager for the Caucasus region.

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    ###

    Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating payments transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at Visa.com.ge



    [1] The rules of the campaign are available on the link

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