October 23, 2019

The Council on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses is fostering inclusive learning and sharing of the best practices, programs, and initiatives to enable women-owned businesses to access markets, capital, and the linkages between the two. Through this learning and sharing, the twenty-member Council from the world’s leading financial institutions will come up with a global strategy to address the two major challenges to growth for small and medium women-owned enterprises with a set of recommendations to better connect access to markets with access to capital.

Emily Bishop at Mastercard, and member of the Council on Scaling Women-Owned Businesses shared Mastercard’s impactful programs and partnerships and how they are advancing women’s economic empowerment globally.

“At Mastercard, we realize that when we empower women entrepreneurs, we’re also investing in our communities and economy - whether we’re sourcing from women-owned companies or designing product solutions in mind for female entrepreneurs. Women are a force to be reckoned with, especially in the small business space, contributing over $3 trillion to today’s economy and opening over 1,800 businesses every day.” – Emily Bishop

Complementary to the partnership with WEConnect International, Mastercard recently announced partnerships with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and CARE USA, which will create new models and tools to financially include women, micro-entrepreneurs, and smallholder farmers across the world. Mastercard is committed to working with USAID to reach half a million women in developing countries around the world. Together they will focus on unlocking tools for women entrepreneurs to improve their livelihoods and well-being by increasing access to and usage of digital and financial services, markets, capacity-building, and mentorship. Mastercard will invest in this partnership by providing resources and expertise drawn from various parts of the organization. The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and CARE USA has finalized a three-year partnership that will equip 3.9 million micro and small businesses in Peru, Pakistan and Vietnam with tools, training, education, products, and services to formalize and grow. At least 50% of the businesses reached will be women-owned or operated. This new partnership, funded with a grant of $5.26M from the Mastercard Impact Fund, reaffirms Mastercard and CARE USA’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment.

Mastercard partnered with Create & Cultivate to empower female business owners through networking opportunities, conferences, panel discussions, and one-on-one mentorship. Working with some of the most forward-thinking women and motivational entrepreneurs, Mastercard and Create & Cultivate are sparking a 365-day conversation to empower female small business owners with the support of the newly formed Mastercard Women’s Business Advisory Council.

The Council has found that one of the major barriers for women-owned businesses to grow and scale is access to capital, and Mastercard is working to break down that barrier through its Start Path partnership with Astia, a trusted global ecosystem of investors and advisors, to identify female-founded start-ups, some whose mission it is to support and invest in women. Not only will this partnership provide the start-ups with the capital they need, but also other means of support for women business owners to succeed. Mastercard Start Path and Astia have already supported and invested in three female-founded start-ups including CNote, Ellevest, and Goodworld.

Mastercard recognizes the need for a holistic approach when implementing programs and partnerships for female business owners. It is not enough to simply provide just capital access or market access for women-owned businesses -- women-owned businesses need a combination of tools, including access to capital, new markets, mentoring, learning, and resources to overcome the barriers keeping them from reaching their full potential.

WEConnect International is thrilled to have Mastercard as part of the innovative Council helping women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises grow globally.