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Visa Launches She’s Next Grant Program in Hungary

Fintech

Visa has decided to bring its global Visa She's Next program to Hungary to support women-led businesses. Hungarian female entrepreneurs are invited to apply for one of the five grants in the amount of HUF 2 mln.

The winners will also receive mentoring and coaching for a year to support their growth. Applications can be submitted until May 21, 2023. The winners will be picked by a jury of renowned experts and entrepreneurs.

According to a December 2022 research, half of the women surveyed in Hungary face challenges securing funding for their ventures.

Hungarian respondents mentioned one’s own limits, lack of other resources and skills as well as overworking oneself as the other main pain points of further business growth according to a recent Visa study.  

There is a notable gender gap, there are still half as many women as men among the owners of Hungarian companies, and this ratio is slowly decreasing. Visa’s research uncovered some insights that may shed light on why this number has remained stagnant:

Money matters: Almost 1 out of 4 Hungarian woman entrepreneurs encountered prejudices when raising funding.
Believe in oneself: Men are often more self-confident than women in Hungary, with more than half of women reporting a lack of self-confidence, compared to less than 50% of men.
All alone: More than 1 out of 2 women are not aware of any form of help or resources that they can use to manage their businesses.

Empowering Female Entrepreneurs

This week, Visa announced the launch of its global She’s Next initiative in Hungary to economically empower local women entrepreneurs and SMB owners.

Katalin Juhász, products & solutions director, Visa CEE said, “Women who own and manage businesses face a unique set of challenges including access to capital and mentoring support. That’s why we’re excited to help make a difference to women business owners across Hungary today through Visa She’s Next Grant Program through which we offer access to coaching and support through Impact Hub as well as that grant of HUF 2 million”.

“Small and medium-sized businesses bring economic well-being to hundreds of millions of people across Europe and running a business takes time, investment, and great resilience,” said Bence Sármay, country manager for Hungary at Visa. “Visa helps businesses grow by investing in the development of innovative, safe, and fast payment systems. I hope that our “She’s Next” program will support women entrepreneurs in reaching their ambitious business goals while helping both the local and the global economy grow."

Roughly two-thirds of Hungarian female entrepreneurs stated that besides the financial support, they prefer being involved in a mentorship program. The areas Hungarian women entrepreneurs said they wanted to learn more about were how to promote their businesses, and how to manage finances as well as their own time. The Visa She's Next initiative includes a series of mentoring programs tailored to their businesses. Mentors have extensive experience not only in entrepreneurship and investment but also in business education.

The program ambassador of Visa She’s Next in Hungary is Kriszta D. Tóth, a well-known media personality, founder, and CEO of WMN.

“Having your own idea realized, being an entrepreneur, leading a team, and developing a product or service as an independent is one of the most exciting things in the world. But it is not without challenges, especially when you start out as a woman, trying to stand on your own two feet. From my experience of the last eight years since I founded WMN magazine, I know that realizing your dreams is about much more than finding the resources to back up your big idea. Just as important is the community that keeps you going, the professional mentoring, the human support, and last but not least, the ability to learn from your failures and celebrate your successes," she added.

Since its launch in 2020, Visa has invested more than USD 2.8 mln in over 260 grants and coaching for women entrepreneurs through Visa She’s Next grant program globally, including in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and Poland.

How to Apply

The Visa She’s Next grant program, implemented in cooperation with Impact Hub, is addressed to businesses in which the majority owner is a woman or sole proprietorships where the business activity is carried out by a woman. Businesses registered before January 1, 2021, with a positive business result last year are eligible for application. The program also expects applicants to have a digital presence, which could be a website, a webshop, or an actively used social media page.

To take part in the competition, female entrepreneurs need to describe the history of their company, refer to what inspired them to start a business, as well as highlight the challenges they face on a daily basis. In addition, participants will be asked to present an idea for using the grant for the development of their company.  A jury of experts and entrepreneurs will decide on the winners,

Members of the jury:
Kriszta D. Tóth, founder and CEO of WMN
Ildikó Ginzer, deputy chief business officer, Bankholding
Katalin Juhász, products & solutions director, Visa CEE
Andrea Kozma  director, CEU Innovations Lab
Krisztina Máthé, producer, Shark Tank Hungary RTL
Judit Rácz, founder, CEO, Skinsmart, Geek&Gorgeous
Ágnes Sütő, head of marketing, Hungarian Banking Association
Bence Sármay, country manager for Hungary, Visa  

Further information is available on the Visa website.

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