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Visa (NYSE: V) announced the recipients of its grant program in India to boost women entrepreneurship globally and empower budding businesswomen.

As part of Visa’s first global grant program in partnership with IFundWomen, Bunko Junko, My Chapter One and MoWo Social Initiatives each received Rs 7,00,000 grant from Visa and resources from Instamojo to grow their businesses digitally, in a continued effort to offer better services to their communities.

Women-owned enterprises in India have grown from 14% to 20% in the past decade and employ between 22 to 27 million people. Highlighting this growth, Visa received applications from hundreds of businesses across the country in sectors including apparel & fashion, healthcare & wellness, food & beverages and art & events. 16 semifinalists were evaluated by a jury panel comprising senior leaders across Visa, FICCI FLO (FICCI Ladies’ Organization) and Instamojo. The final winners were selected based on the count of jury votes.

Visa global head of business solutions Kevin Phalen said access to funding, educational resources and a digital presence are fundamental building blocks that will help small businesses get back to not only surviving, but thriving.

“We are proud to provide businesses around the globe with the capital and educational resources they need to achieve their goals,” said Kevin Phalen.

Visa Group Country Manager, India and South Asia T R Ramachandran expressed his heartiest congratulations to the three winners of the first-ever Visa grant program in India.

“These women are truly deserving winners who have defied all odds to emerge as some of the most enterprising business ideas we have seen in recent times,” said T R Ramachandran.

As businesses rise to resilience, T R Ramachandran said Visa is extremely proud to support women entrepreneurs who play a pivotal role in the creation of an inclusive society. “We are confident that this capital will further women’s economic advancement and consequently greater development outcomes for India,” said T R Ramachandran

The trailblazing winners span diverse industries from textiles, education and livelihood respectively:

  • Bunko Junko, founded by Bhavini Parikh, is in the “Upcycling textile” business, using pre-consumer excess as source material for manufacturing exclusive designer pieces in clothing, accessories and home linen.
  • My Chapter One, founded by Ranjani Indrajith and Madhumati Narayanan, is a ‘reading gym’, inculcating reading habits and life skills in children and is driven by 40 mom-preneurs as reading hosts.
  • MoWo Social Initiatives, started by Jai Bharathi Addepalli, offers two and three-wheeler training and related livelihood opportunities to women in Hyderabad.

IFundWomen founder & chief executive officer Karen Cahn said IFundWomen’s sole mission is to drive funding into the hands of women-owned businesses.

“We are so proud to be part of a program that supports these innovative entrepreneurs in India. We could not think of a better partner with which to do our first official international grant program than Visa, a company who is deeply committed to supporting women-owned businesses around the globe,” said Karen Cahn.

In addition to the grants, Instamojo, the digitization partner, is providing the winners with tools and resources to help build their digital presence. This includes benefits such as free payment collection of up to INR 3,00,000 and free shipping for products listed on Instamojo for the first fifteen shipments.

Over the past year, Visa has awarded over a quarter-million dollars in grants and coaching scholarships to women across the globe, with new grant programs being announced over the course of this year. Google | Bain and Co. – Women Entrepreneurship in India 2019

(Story is based on Business Wire India release)

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