Mastercard launches Strive Learning Network to support the UK’s entrepreneurs to thrive

October 19, 2021

Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth forms the Strive Learning Network, a coalition of individuals and organisations to work together to support small businesses.

Today, Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth launches the Strive Learning Network as part of its new micro and small business flagship programme, Strive UK, that launched in last month.

In partnership with Be the Business, Digital Boost and Enterprise Nation, Strive UK will support 650,000 British micro and small enterprises (MSEs), with a particular focus on businesses owned by women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds, to thrive in the digital economy. Over the next three years and beyond, Strive UK will provide small business owners with access to free guidance, helpful tools, and personalised, one-to-one mentoring.

In an effort to facilitate more learning and collaboration in the entrepreneurial support ecosystem, and therefore ensure businesses have the tools they need to succeed, Mastercard has convened the Strive Learning Network. It is a coalition made up of individuals and organisations that have a focus on supporting small businesses including global corporates, fintechs, academic institutions, policymakers, and professional bodies. The inaugural meeting will be attended by representatives from organisations including, BT, Vodafone, Aviva, Santander, Natwest, British Chambers of Commerce and the CBI.

Mastercard, together with Enterprise Nation, will host quarterly roundtables for the network to share learnings and insights into the most effective ways to support micro and small businesses. These forums will be used to co-create new partnerships that will further the entrepreneurial ecosystem and problem solve the enduring challenges and opportunities facing micro and small business such as access to finance, inclusive digitisation, sustainability, time poverty and open banking.

Kelly Devine, President, UK & Ireland, Mastercard, comments: “Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and will be crucial to building a more inclusive economy in the post-pandemic recovery. We formed Strive UK to ensure the small businesses that are so crucial to our communities, high streets and economies not only survive but thrive, by equipping them with the digital tools and skills necessary to grow their businesses. The Strive Learning Network will convene organisations and policymakers to support and promote collaboration across the small business ecosystem, including partnering with local communities to ensure the impact of Strive UK is deep and long-lasting.”

Strive UK has launched as part of a wider Strive global initiative which also includes Strive Community, a partnership-led programme focussed on supporting the resilience and growth of more than five million micro and small businesses across the world. With philanthropic funding from the Mastercard Impact Fund, the programme will support small businesses globally as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Strive Learning Network Members:

APPG on BAME Business Owners, Aviva, Be The Business, Black South West Business Network, British Business Bank, British Chambers of Commerce, Bruntwood Works, BT, Business Gateway, Capify, CBI, Coadec, Dell Women Entrepreneurs Network, Digital Boost, Enterprise Research Network, FSB, Good Things Foundation,, GS1 UK, Imperial London, Institute of Export, MSDUK, Natwest, NEEAL, PayPal, Responsible Finance, Rural Business Group, Santander, Simply Noir, SumUp, The LEP Network, Tide, Vodafone, Women in Rural Enterprise.

Media Contacts

Suman Hughes, Mastercard

About Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on Twitter, @CNTR4growth, LinkedIn and subscribe to its newsletter.

About Strive UK

Strive UK is an initiative of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth that aims to empower 650,000 micro and small businesses in the UK to succeed in the digital economy over the next three years through free guidance, helpful tools, and personalised, one-to-one mentoring. The programme is run in partnership with Enterprise Nation, Digital Boost and Be the Business, and has been designed to complement Government initiatives such as Help to Grow. Strive UK builds on Mastercard’s $250 million commitment to support small businesses’ financial security and extends the company’s commitment to financial inclusion, with efforts underway to bring a total of one billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.

  • Enterprise Nation will build a data driven “One Stop Shop” for micro and small businesses to help them understand and find the resources, programmes and tools available to them. The company will also manage a Strive Learning Network, bringing together large corporates and not for profits involved in delivering support to small firms for the purpose of sharing views and insight on what's working when it comes to building the conditions for enterprise to thrive. Visit
  • Be the Business will deliver bespoke digital adoption and leadership development programmes for minority ethnic owned/led micro and small business, with a special focus on female owners from minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • Digital Boost will provide mentorship, advice and coaching to help micro and small business owners to develop critical business skills.

About Mastercard (UK)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.