Visa, the global leader in digital payments, and NASSCOM Foundation have jointly announced an initiative to upskill women entrepreneurs with digital skills and financial literacy. Spread across 5 states - Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and West Bengal - this initiative by Visa is part of its global recovery efforts announced last year to elevate 50 million small and micro businesses. The training program is designed to help women from underserved communities build basic digital skills while sharpening business acumen.
With the MSME sector in India hit severely by the pandemic and over 70% women entrepreneurs affected, Visa will extend support to, and upskill, these small entrepreneurs across the country with this program. Program partner NASSCOM Foundation will work with over 650 women micro-entrepreneurs and train them to go online, rebuild and expand their businesses. In India, Visa has previously empowered women-owned businesses through a grants program with iFundWomen and is currently working to uplift and digitize local artisan communities across India.
The program will focus on training impacted entrepreneurs through a blended model. Online training will be delivered through the DigiSakshar portal and app, and all beneficiaries will receive a mobile phone with one year of internet connectivity to help them access the course curriculum and training. The offline training component will be conducted by Pollinate Energy India Private Limited where these women entrepreneurs will learn best practices for restarting and scaling their businesses. It will also equip them with tools to transition their businesses online, manage taxes, make cashless transactions, and claim benefits from pertinent government schemes.
On the occasion of the launch, TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia for Visa, said, “Visa is committed to using its diverse capabilities to drive digital and financial inclusion for underserved segments. As a trusted engine of commerce, we are proud to partner with NASSCOM Foundation on this initiative and provide women micro-entrepreneurs across India with essential financial literacy and skills in this digital age. We hope to help rebuild their lives and businesses to thrive in the coming years. we hope this will be a transformational journey and create stronger support for these entrepreneurs.”
NASSCOM Foundation is the convener of the program and will undertake its monitoring and evaluation. The Foundation has also designed the program and brought all the partners together.
Sharing her vision, Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said, “Women’s labour force participation has been 18.6% for rural and urban India as per the latest PLFS survey (2018). This gap clearly highlights that stimulating women entrepreneurship will be instrumental in achieving India’s vision for inclusive growth and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The COVID -19 pandemic has only intensified this challenge, making it crucial to put women at the backbone of recovery in communities. This calls for building an enabling environment where constraints to women entrepreneurship are actively identified and removed. And that has been our core objective while working on this initiative in partnership with Visa. This capacity building program will equip at least 650 women with skills to restart, rebuild and scale their businesses and become role models in their communities to inspire other women to start their own small-scale enterprises”.
The DigiSakshar portal will facilitate learning through video-based self-learning modules, quizzes, and assessments throughout the program. The course curriculum will be made available in local languages for ease of understanding for the beneficiaries. Post training, the program will provide funds as stock purchase support to the women entrepreneurs and also facilitate market linkages to help them get started.