Billions of reasons to champion growth
Consumer behaviour has changed radically over the past few years1, exacerbated by macro factors such as Covid and the cost-of-living crisis. To survive, succeed and grow, businesses – and especially small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) – must adapt to an increasingly digital economy and meet the demands of current and future generations.
The notion that anyone with a phone can be a creator also applies to business and retail. Globally we are moving from hundreds of millions of sellers – large and small – to billions of sellers around the world. Anyone today can be a seller – people reselling second-hand items via the circular economy; people working in the gig economy; or those in the creator economy. Visa is working to provide services at scale to reach these sellers and help them flourish.
Setting an ambitious target
In 2020 Visa set itself a three-year goal to digitally enable 50 million SMBs globally, in an effort to support businesses in the wake of the pandemic and promote current and future entrepreneurs of all sizes. The range of tailored programmes and solutions primarily focused on driving efficiency and sales through the acceptance of digital payments and building online businesses.
By June 2023 we had exceeded our three-year goal, digitally enabling nearly 67 million SMBs globally, and in Europe, Visa has digitally enabled 13.5 million SMBs between 2020 and 2023.
Small, independent businesses make up the heart of the European economy, accounting for more than half of Europe’s GDP and employing around 100 million people2. In the UK, the number of SMBs has increased by 2 million (+60%) since 20003. Small businesses also drive the global economy, representing around 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide4. These numbers show why supporting these businesses is such a crucial factor in helping global economies on the road to recovery.
Charlotte Hogg, CEO of Visa Europe, said, “Whether it’s a terminal, tap to pay or enabling businesses to take payments online, what we’re trying to do is make sure all of those tools that are more easily available to big businesses, are available to small businesses as well.”
Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Executive Chairman at Visa, said, “Small businesses are anything but small to Visa. Over the past three years, we’ve seen them shift from leveraging digital payments to survive, to now harnessing the power of digital to improve efficiency and reach new customers. Visa is committed to continue expanding equitable access and extending digitisation for underserved and women-led SMBs globally, so that payments can truly be a catalyst for growth.”
Powering SMB growth globally, year-round
Visa’s 50 million digital enablement milestone is just one piece of its ongoing commitment to help small and micro businesses thrive. Since April 2020, Visa has introduced localised programs and solutions to enable small business owners to meet the fast-changing needs of commerce, trade and consumers in different parts of the world. Visa offers numerous payment services designed to help SMBs pay and get paid, and includes Visa Business credit and debit cards, rewards programs, business and payment management tools, fraud and security services, among many other solutions. Visa also provides financial education and business skills training, including Practical Business Skills globally and Enko in Latin America.
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1 How our spending has changed since the end of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions - Office for National Statistics
3 UK Gov, Oct 2022, Business population estimates for the UK and regions 2021: statistical release, Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.l
4 World Bank SME Finance