True to our strategic focus on digital and financial inclusion, we recently partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative to stimulate the growth and sustainability of early-stage female entrepreneurs and launched the region’s first Start Path Empodera program in Colombia. The program applies our award-winning Start Path global accelerator model to advance women-led startups as they seek to (1) achieve scale, (2) deliver innovative products and services, (3) raise their business profile, (4) access a community of women entrepreneurs, and (5) raise capital for growth. This is the latest program to join existing efforts, which include our support of the LEADS Mujer Virtual Accelerator that helps women-owned small businesses on their path toward growth.
As we look to develop sustainable programs for consumers and businesses on a journey toward prosperity, the next big task is scaling support from critical partners across sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial need for private and public sector partners to work together in new ways to leverage expertise, tap into resources, and expand the reach of digital and financial efforts. By bringing together complementary partners, Start Path Empodera is the latest example of Mastercard’s evolving role as a market organizer and leader in the region’s Tech for Good Partnership, which seeks to create new, powerful bridges that support the most vulnerable beyond just payments.
Increased understanding of the female entrepreneurial environment is essential to supporting the success of women. At Mastercard, we’re actively reimagining what it means to take part in today’s digital economy and what growth means for this ambitious segment of the digital economy. As societies continue to address existing cultural biases, we will do our part to ignite the partnerships and projects that will fuel the foundation for the personal and economic growth of women entrepreneurs.
Putting women entrepreneurs and startups on pathways towards resilience is key to powering an inclusive digital economy that works better for women and creates limitless possibilities for us all.