Visa, Worldwide FIFA Women’s Football Partner, announced the first-ever extension of the coveted Visa Player of the Match athlete award to support women-owned small businesses (WSMB) with $500,000 in total grant funding across the 64 matches and potentially 32 qualifying countries.
“Visa understands equity requires action and resources. We’re excited to use the world’s biggest stage for women’s sports to put the power for change into the athlete’s performance – and uplift a business in the home country of each game’s Player of the Match,” said Andrew Uaboi, Vice President and Head, Visa West Africa.
“Nigeria is one of the leading African countries with the highest number of female entrepreneurs and we are passionate about using this initiative to create a positive impact on society, in addition to advancing the growth of women-owned small businesses in our region. We also see this as an opportunity to inspire young girls to dream big and pursue their passion for the beautiful game”, he added.
The Visa Player of the Match trophy is awarded after each of the 64 matches to the player voted by fans as the most outstanding performer.
During the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, viewers at home will have the chance to celebrate the women on the field while simultaneously contributing to the elevation of women in business.
Leading up to the final match, Visa will award 64 grants to women small businesses from the same country as the national team represented by the winning footballer. Whether the player hails from a first-time entrant like Panama or is a veteran from the defending champion U.S. team, a woman small business owner in the Player of the Match country will receive a grant to support her own goals.
The grants range in value from $5,000 for the 48 first-round matches to $50,000 for the final. The winning small businesses will be announced live during the athlete trophy presentation.
This initiative is a result of Visa’s multi-year commitment to helping women entrepreneurs access essential financial resources and fostering inclusion in the global economy.
According to a survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Visa, 82 percent of WSMB owners agree that participating in sports positively impacts a person’s success in business. Additionally, business leaders can develop important skills such as strategic thinking, teamwork, communication, and leadership through sports.
Visa has been a dedicated advocate for women’s football for over 15 years, championing equity, inclusion, and meaningful connections with athletes, fans, and communities worldwide. As the first FIFA Women’s Football Partner and the first standalone sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football, Visa continues to empower women both within its organization and through its brand support. They are also sponsors of national teams, including the U.S. Soccer Federation and Mexican Football Federation.
In the host countries of Australia and New Zealand, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, presented by Visa, will tell the inspiring stories of the athletes, highlighting their personal journeys and the numbers that have shaped their careers.