Visa enhances digital, financial skills for Southeast Asia’s women and youth

Visa, a global leader in payment solutions, is advancing digital and financial inclusion across Southeast Asia by equipping women and youth with essential skills to foster sustainable growth and long-term success.

The initiative aligns with an OECD report* highlighting barriers faced by rural communities, women, and certain ethnic minority groups in fully utilizing digital options due to cultural and institutional obstacles.

Nearly a third of Southeast Asia’s population is young, and SMEs and MSMEs, which make up 99% of businesses in the region, are crucial to economic growth. Visa supports this progress by enhancing digital and financial literacy for women SME owners and young individuals. In 2023, Visa digitally enabled 10 million SMEs in Asia Pacific. The Visa Foundation has committed over $47 million to the region, supporting two million women-led SMEs and sustaining 500,000 jobs, and has recently pledged $100 million to APEC economies over five years.Top of FormBottom of Form

Stephen Karpin, Visa’s Regional President for Asia Pacific, emphasized the significance of these efforts, particularly in the Philippines.

“In the Philippines, women and young people form a crucial engine propelling local economic growth. Visa utilizes our resources and vast network to give back to the communities we operate in, particularly in promoting digital and financial inclusion.”

Visa’s impact extends across the region, digitally enabling 10 million SMEs in Asia Pacific in 2023.

The Visa Foundation has committed over $47 million to support two million women-led SMEs and sustain 500,000 jobs. Recently, it pledged an additional $100 million to APEC economies over the next five years.

Kelly Tullier, Visa’s Vice Chair and Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer, underscored the importance of local partnerships: “My trip to Vietnam reinforced how contributions within local communities are most impactful when done in concert with leaders on the ground. We met Visa Foundation partner, WISE Vietnam, which has supported 100,000 women entrepreneurs in Vietnam with access to digital tools to grow their businesses.”

Regional Initiatives

Philippines: Visa’s financial literacy program, launched in 2017, has educated over 36,000 students and teachers across 21 cities. The program includes a Tagalog skit presented in schools, which evolved into two web series focused on financial literacy. Teach for the Philippines, a program recipient of a Visa Foundation grant, supports student and leadership development.

Indonesia: The “Ibu Berbagi Bijak” (Women Sharing Wisdom) financial literacy program has positively impacted over 1,400 women since 2017, including 1,000 women-led MSMEs. The program is supported by regional governments and various Indonesian ministries.

Vietnam: The “Accelerate My Business” program, a partnership between Visa, The Asia Foundation, and the Center for Women and Development, aims to empower 25,000 female business owners over the next three years. Visa also supports financial literacy for households and ethnic minority communities in collaboration with the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs. The annual Financial Literacy Program, established since 2012 with the Central Committee of the Vietnam Students’ Association, seeks to improve financial and business literacy in Vietnam.

Cambodia: Visa collaborates with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the National Bank of Cambodia to promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Since 2020, this initiative has helped more than 10,000 women entrepreneurs and students, aligning with Cambodia’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy to reduce financial exclusion of women.

Visa’s commitment to broader social impact goals has resulted in the digital enablement of 67 million SMEs globally. For more information on Visa’s social impact initiatives, resources and solutions for small and micro-businesses, visit the Visa Small Business Hub. For more information about Visa Foundation, read the inaugural impact report.


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