Visa launches inaugural 'She's Next' program to support women-owned businesses in Qatar

  • Women business owners in Qatar are invited to apply for a grant worth USD50,000, a tailored training program and access to She’s Next Club networking and mentoring opportunities. Applications are open until June 23, 2023.
  • As part of initiative, Visa launches ‘Women SMB Digitalization Index’ in Qatar:
    • Main challenges faced by women entrepreneurs implementing digitalization in their businesses include high cost of implementation, digital compliance with regulations, and employee upskilling.
    • Top motivations for starting a business: Financial independence (41%), Leadership (30%) and Desire to make more money (30%).
    • 61% of women-led businesses accept digital payments.


Doha, Qatar, 22 May 2023: Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, announced the launch of its global She’s Next initiative for the first time in Qatar to empower local women entrepreneurs. She’s Next, empowered by Visa, is a global advocacy program that aims to support women-owned small businesses through funding, training and mentorship.  From today and until June 23, 2023, women entrepreneurs from all industries and sectors in Qatar can apply to She's Next.

One winner will receive a grant of USD50,000, a tailored training program, and access to She’s Next Club resources such as a workshop library and community of entrepreneurs.

Shashank Singh, Visa’s General Manager for Kuwait and Qatar, said: “As Qatar's digital economy experiences a boom following one of the biggest sporting events, we are thrilled to launch our global She's Next initiative for the first time in Qatar to support local women-owned businesses.”

She's Next is part of Visa’s efforts to support digitalization of women-owned businesses and features the launch of Visa’s first Women SMB Digitalization Index which measures digital maturity using 5 key indicators: online presence, digital payments acceptance, payment security awareness, customer engagement, and customer retention. For Qatar, the index reveals women-owned businesses scored highest in online presence, customer retention and digital marketing.

Singh added: “The Women SMB Digitalization Index underlines the critical importance of digital transformation of businesses and identifies opportunities for our She’s Next program in creating an ecosystem for the next generation of female entrepreneurs to achieve their business objectives. The She's Next program will help bridge the gender gap in entrepreneurship and leveraging the power of technology to drive progress towards gender equality.”

Key findings include:

  • Challenges with running their businesses: Lack of support from family and friends was the top challenge (77% of respondents), finding tools for business development (73%) and keeping business current (72%). 
  • Challenges with funding: Securing funds for digitalization was also stated as a challenge by 52% of the respondents, owing to high cost associated with implementation, lack of investor understanding of its related benefits, and lack of technical expertise. Almost 8 out of 10 are tapping into their personal savings to start their business.
  • Additional funds, if available, would be invested in advertising and marketing (44%), creating new products (44%), and investment in new technology (41%).
  • Stereotypes: Sixty-one percent of female respondents in Qatar said they faced stereotypes doing business. Common stereotypes include more focused on building relationships and less focused on business results and metrics (38%), less capable of scaling their business (38%), and less tech-savvy (37%).
  • Sixty-one percent of women-led businesses accept cards and 66% said online was their primary sales channel.

Since 2020, Visa has invested around $3M in over 250 grants and coaching for women SMB owners through the She’s Next grant program globally including in US, Canada, India, Ireland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco.

To learn more and apply for Visa She's Next Grant Program, applicants must submit a short application form with details about their business and digital presence.