Micro and small enterprises are important contributors to job creation and global economic development, representing approximately 90% of business and more than 50% of employment worldwide. However, the pandemic necessitated a rapid shift to digital platforms and processes that have created new opportunities but also pushed many to the brink of failure. To address the transition to digital, Mastercard - through the Center for Inclusive Growth - today launched Strive, a global initiative focused on strengthening the financial resilience of small businesses and supporting their recovery and growth.
With an initial philanthropic investment of $25 million from the Mastercard Impact Fund, Strive will help more than five million micro and small businesses around the world access the tools and resources they need to digitize.
“When small businesses thrive our local communities and economies thrive, but when they struggle, the impact is widespread,” said Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard. “What small business owners need right now are partners who will listen to them and develop innovative solutions that will help them grow in the wake of the pandemic. It comes down to an investment in making their success our success. That’s what makes programs like Strive so critical today and tomorrow.”
As part of the Strive initiative, global platforms will combine with localized programs to address and respond to the unique challenges and opportunities of the most vulnerable small business populations in regions across the world.
Strive Community – the first of these programs – will impact more than five million small businesses across Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. With the support of Caribou Digital, a research and advisory firm focused on aiding the development of inclusive and ethical digital economies, the program will help small businesses utilize technology resources that will digitize their operations, streamline financial and back-office services and improve market access to ensure they succeed in our modern economy. Grants will be allocated to organizations that are experienced in working with micro and small business owners.