Visa announced a new campaign this week to help 50 million small and micro businesses globally, including eight million in Europe, recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visa is embarking on this initiative with help from partners including financial institutions and community and technology partners. Among the organizations it has tapped to help are payment facilitators iZettle, SafeCharge, Shopify and SumUp.
The card network and its partners are working to help small businesses adapt to the changed environment in three areas: building an online presence, increasing digital payments acceptance, and encouraging consumers to support small businesses through “shop local” initiatives.
“At Shopify, we aim to remove the barriers that exist to entrepreneurs starting new online commerce shops and helping small businesses scale to the next level,” Roman Rochel, head of EMEA at Shopify, said in a press release.
“During the current pandemic we’ve seen both businesses and customers come online in even greater numbers, from people buying more locally to traditional companies coming online for the first time. Together, with partners like Visa we are aiming to make the online transition as seamless as possible.”
Small businesses are critical to economic recovery in Europe, the company said, because they account for more than half of the region’s GDP and two-thirds of its total employment.
“Where you shop matters now more than ever. Small businesses are the backbone of local economies – they create jobs, foster innovation and keep income within local communities. Their survival will be key to how our economies recover from this current crisis,” said Charlotte Hogg, CEO for Visa in Europe.
“To ensure they get the support needed, we’re enlisting the help of our partners – big and small – to provide the tools, resources and expertise that will help small businesses adapt and build for the future.”
According to Visa, the pandemic has altered consumer behavior within Europe, with online payments increasing by at least 25% in some countries and two-thirds of in-store payments being made with contactless cards or mobile phones.