For the second year
Visa and Société Générale Maroc launch Global Grant Competition “She’s Next” in Morocco to Empower Female Entrepreneurs
- Morocco’s women business owners are invited to apply for a grant worth USD 35,000, a tailored training program and access to She’s Next Club networking and mentoring opportunities. Applications are open until 25th of September 2023.
- As part of the initiative, a market survey was conducted revealing significant findings:
- Funding is a challenge for Morocco’s women-led businesses, with 80% dipping into personal savings
- 93% of women entrepreneurs have plans to digitize their business
- 82% of women-led businesses are interested in payment related training
- Leveraging digitalization to transition to a cashless business is a huge opportunity for 71% women entrepreneurs
Casablanca, Morocco, August 22, 2023: Women-led businesses in Morocco are faced with challenges when it comes to funding, digitalization and seeking advisory, according to a survey of women entrepreneurs by Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments.
The survey follows Visa’s endeavor to empower women entrepreneurs in Morocco by bringing its global She’s Next grant program, in partnership with Société Générale Maroc and accelerator and innovation hub Techno Park.
She’s Next, empowered by Visa, is a global advocacy program that aims to support women-owned small businesses through funding, training and mentorship. Until 25th of September 2023, women entrepreneurs from all industries and sectors in Morocco can apply to She's Next for a chance to be one of three winners to receive a grant up to USD 25,000, in addition to a tailored training program, and access to She’s Next Club resources such as a workshop library and community of entrepreneurs.
She’s Next finds relevance in Morocco, where women entrepreneurs are challenged with finding a support system and a role model/mentor to help them grow their business.
Sami Romdhane, Country Manager for Morocco, Visa, commented: “We're proud to bring our successful ‘She's Next’ global program to Morocco, in partnership with Techno Park and [Société Générale Bank]. Women entrepreneurs face unique challenges such as limited access to capital, lack of mentorship and dealing with gender stereotyping concerns where they are considered less capable of handling high-pressure situations. Access to these factors along with a robust digital infrastructure is critical for women entrepreneurs to flourish and scale up their businesses. She’s Next, underscores this vital digitalization shift, embraces the potential of women entrepreneurs, and enables them to thrive with support and innovation.”
The survey of women entrepreneurs in Morocco revealed key aspects of their entrepreneurial journey, and identified themes that would drive empowerment. These themes are as follows:
A Challenging Business Environment
Women in Morocco are keen on beginning their business, citing creating jobs (33%) and realizing a dream (32%) as top motivations. However, these entrepreneurs state funding is a serious challenge while running their businesses. Visa’s survey finds that 80% of women dip into their personal savings to fund their business, while 52% of respondents rely on bank loans.
Advice from fellow entrepreneurs
Female entrepreneurs in Morocco are eager to learn from their peers, according to Visa’s survey. All of the respondents (100%) stated that they need advice, with many women entrepreneurs wanting specific assistance on overcoming problems while running their business (51%), developing online sales (51%), and raising capital / funding for their business (36%).
The Visa survey also found businesswomen are excited about building online sales, with 82% women wanting payment related training. A section of women (32%) seek advice on how to build a team of employees, and the types of payments accepted from customers (30%), while more common topics for workshops included creating an online store (27%), crisis management (25%), and managing work-life balance (24%).
Digitalization, an opportunity to grow
She's Next is part of Visa’s efforts to support digitization of women-owned businesses and features the launch of Visa’s first Women SMB Digitalization Index. The Index scores businesses based on 5 indicators: online presence, digital payments, payment security, customer engagement, and customer retention.
As a historically cash dominant market, the survey found that 3 in 5 Moroccan women entrepreneurs claim to be digitally savvy, with 93% respondents having plans to digitize their business focusing on digital marketing, business leadership, AI and automation, software implementation, and analytics tools to generate insights and tools for customer engagement and retention. The survey also found that women entrepreneurs wanted to leverage digitalization to transition to a cashless business, as over half respondents (51%) found it challenging to secure funding for digitalization.
Being familiar with the cyber threat landscape, 71% women entrepreneurs use both cash and cashless modes of payment, with cash payments taking precedence over digital in online and offline selling platforms.
Ahmed El Yacoubi, CEO of Societe Generale Maroc, said: “Through our partnership with Visa, the She’s Next initiative is unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs, and is already supporting capable, ambitious women in achieving their goals. We are very proud to support She’s Next, empowering talented women to take their businesses to the next level and creating new opportunities across our community.”
Since 2020, Visa has invested around $3M in over 250 grants and coaching for women SMB owners through the She’s Next grant program globally including in US, Canada, India, Ireland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Morocco.
To learn more and apply for Visa She's Next Grant Program, applicants must submit a short application form with details about their business and digital presence.
About Visa Inc.
Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating 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 About Visa, visamiddleeast.com/blog and @Visamiddleeast.