• Superstar footballer Fran Kirby shines a spotlight on the importance of support networks in life, in business and on the pitch as part of new Visa campaign
  • Female entrepreneurs more than twice as likely to experience business growth if they have a strong support network, with 91% admitting it’s key to achieving goals
  • As official partner of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, Visa will also be awarding women entrepreneurs and small businesses with $500,000 total grant funding throughout the tournament
  • Visa has championed women’s football for over 15 years, including being the first worldwide FIFA Women’s Football Partner, and the first standalone sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football

Visa, a world leader in digital payments and Exclusive Payments Technology Partner of FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, today launches a new campaign with England hero Fran Kirby to celebrate the power of ‘support squads’ helping elite female footballers and entrepreneurs achieve their professional goals, on and off the pitch.

New research commissioned by Visa finds that women small business leaders who have a very strong ‘support squad’ (a group of friends, family or colleagues) are almost twice as likely to report business revenue growth in the last year, than those who say their squad is not strong at all (67% vs 32%).

Just over nine out of 10 (91%) women small business leaders surveyed in the UK say that their support network is key to achieving their professional goals, according to the study, with more than three quarters (78%)  saying their business wouldn’t be where it is today without one.

These networks play an incredibly important role, in life, in business and on the pitch, which is why Visa is championing the importance of having a strong, diverse support group while shining a spotlight on Team Visa footballers, small business owners and its own workforce.

England and Team Visa footballer Fran Kirby comments: “My own support network has been instrumental in my journey, celebrating my successes and picking me up during the tough times, such as my current injury. It’s so rewarding to see the women’s game going from strength to strength, and be that powerful platform for promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls to achieve their dreams. That’s why I’m partnering with Visa to put ‘support squads’ at the heart of this celebration of women on the world stage.” 

Building a supportive squad

According to the research, trustworthiness (51%), honesty (42%) and positivity (40%) are the three top attributes women business leaders look for when building their ‘support squad’. Diversity of thought was also found to be key, with more than three in four (78%) of women business leaders saying that they value different perspectives and viewpoints when it comes to achieving their professional goals.

Visa has teamed up with renowned business psychologist, Dr Lynda Shaw, who has provided the following advice for women to take when building their squads, and how they can make the most of them to achieve their professional goals:

  • Enlist open communicators – to build a support squad based on honesty and positivity, consider how people interact with others. They should not feel threatened by other people’s successes because they recognise their own strengths and weaknesses. They will often be enthusiastic but, at the same time, focused. Their optimism will be realistic and sensibly brave.
  • Encourage mutually beneficial goals – an effective support squad shouldn’t need micro-management. Instead, openly discussing the best way to move forward with bumps in the road, and trusting other people’s judgement is more beneficial. Remember also, that intrinsic motivation often trumps extrinsic motivation, so find out what each member of your squad is motivated by and identify how this can support your goals too.
  • Embrace diverse opinions – crucial to building a successful support network is ensuring that each member respects and relishes different points of view, and that they will want to learn from one another. Diversity of ideas and thoughts is extremely beneficial to organisations, so it’s wise to support your squad in ways that they get to know one another well.

As the world gears up for what’s anticipated to be the biggest women’s football tournament to date, Visa is inviting countries across the UK and Europe to join its celebration of support networks, focusing on the individuals behind-the-scenes that are helping women reach their full potential.

Supporting women at every stage

Visa’s new Celebrating Squad Goals campaign underscores its commitment to elevating women while driving excellence, equality and inclusion across the whole economy. As part of this, Visa is putting small business owners centre-stage, highlighting the important role they play in powering our economies. Supporting this, Visa will use its sponsorship of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Player of the Match Award to recognise women-owned small businesses. The winners will be announced live at the athlete trophy presentation across 64 matches awarded with $500,000 in total grant funding.

Visa was the first FIFA Women’s Football partner and became the first standalone sponsor of UEFA Women’s Football in 2018. Team Visa is proud to be supporting 37 professional female footballers globally, which includes those participating in the tournament, providing them with tools, resources and support. Visa also founded The Second Half, a career development programme, in collaboration with Karen Carney MBE and Kim Little MBE to help female professional players plan for a smooth career transition beyond the football pitch, in the UK and Spain.

Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa comments: “When it comes to women’s football, Visa has been in it for the long game, championing women every step of the way – during their playing career and in life afterwards. As our research shows, support networks are really the unsung heroes of the economy and for this reason, we’re urging everyone to join us in putting the individuals that help them thrive in the spotlight. 

“We at Visa are determined to grow the sport at all levels, driving acceptance, increasing visibility, and future-proofing the women’s game, and by celebrating squad goals, we hope to elevate their success in business, sport and life.”

For more information about Visa’s sponsorship of FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™and initiatives helping women to thrive, visit: