Visa has renewed its grant programme aimed at women entrepreneurs, doubling the funding offered under the She’s Next initiative.
Designed to support women entrepreneurs to run and grow their business, the She’s Next programme offers five grants of €10,000 and a year of coaching from funding marketplace IFundWomen.
This is the second year of the programme in Ireland, with last year the inaugural programme.
The programme is open for applications until August 16th, with five different categories, including micro, early-stage and small business. There are also categories for innovation and sustainability.
"It was encouraging to see the amount of interest in last year's programme and we're confident that with continued funding and resources, each woman-led business will be able to take the steps to grow with confidence," said Karen Cahn, founder and chief executive at IFundWomen.
The initiative comes as research by Visa reveals more than half of small businesses led by women were challenged by the Covid pandemic and were still feeling the effects, compared to a third of men.
Only 38 per cent of women said they felt they had the necessary skills to start a business, compared to 58 per cent of men, and among those thathad taken the plunge, 43 per cent of women said they were very confident in evolving their business , compared with 65 per cent of men.
"Women who own and manage businesses face a unique set of challenges including access to capital and peer networks. That's why we're excited to help make a difference to women business-owners across Ireland today through the second She's Next Grant Programme," said Mandy Lamb, managing director UK & Ireland, Visa. " Our research also shows women are less confident than men in growing their business which is why we're particularly proud to offer access to coaching and support through IFundWomen as well as that injection of €10,000 in capital."