Visa debuts She’s Next programme in Middle East to back female entrepreneurial ecosystem

Visa launched on Monday “She’s Next, Empowered by Visa” in the Middle East, a global initiative which focuses on empowering women entrepreneurs, business leaders and small business owners.

The move is part of Visa’s ongoing commitment to support female entrepreneurs.

The “What’s Next Fest – powered by She’s Next” was a three-day virtual conference from September 22 to September 24, hosted by the Female Founder Collective, to equip women entrepreneurs with the needed toolkits, educational insights, and expert guidance to take their business to the next level.

For the first time, the virtual event was brought to the region by Visa in partnership with the Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt’s leading private sector bank. This collaboration was in alignment with CIB’s strategy that is committed to enabling women and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to promote sustainable development.

The event featured star power panels, impactful fireside chats, and interactive Q&A’s with the idea of creating inspiration and lasting tutelage that expands past the boundaries of one single event and one single country. Participants included powerful female celebrities and entrepreneurs such as Maxeme Tuchman, Beatrice Dixon. Tai Beauchamp, Jessica Alba, and Halle Barry.

Malak El-Baba, Country Manager for Visa Egypt said: “We are thrilled to be introducing the “She’s Next” initiative to the MENA region, in partnership with CIB, as part of our ongoing global commitment to encourage female entrepreneurs.”

“Supporting the advancement of SMEs and the empowerment of women in businesses have always been important objectives within our organisation globally, as they are integral pillars that contribute to the sustainable development of societies.

“The virtual conference fostered an environment of learning, growth, and empowerment that we are certain will have a lasting, positive effect on participants.”

Meanwhile, Rashwan Hammady – Head of Retail Segments amd Products at the CIB: “This partnership is in line with CIB’s strategy in supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises in addition to our continued commitment to women empowerment to help sustain business growth, which is especially pertinent during these difficult times.”

Over the years, Visa introduced various initiatives that focused on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and female entrepreneurs. The two most recent initiatives included a global competition that celebrated women entrepreneurs in 2019, and two programs that the Visa Foundation rolled out to support SMEs with funds amounting to $210 million. The latter followed the spread of COVID-19 and addressed an urgent need from local communities, aligning with the Foundation’s long-term focus on women’s economic advancement and inclusive economic development.