Announcing the Bank of America Access to Capital Directory for Women Entrepreneurs
[ Article was originally posted on www.prnewswire.com ]
During National Women's Small Business Month, Bank of America, in partnership with Seneca Women, announced the launch of the Bank of America Access to Capital Directory. This first-of-its-kind platform is a resource to help educate women-owned businesses in the U.S. on navigating the capital landscape and identifying potential sources of funding, such as equity, debt and grant capital.
The challenges that women entrepreneurs face, especially when it comes to securing funds to start or grow their businesses, are steep. Bank of America's 2021 Women Business Owner Spotlight indicates that 42 percent of women have never applied for a business loan or line of credit. According to previous research, almost 60 percent of women entrepreneurs say they do not have the same access to capital as their male counterparts, and nearly a quarter believe women will never have equal access to capital.
"In our extensive work with women entrepreneurs, we have learned that one of their biggest challenges is identifying sources of funding, particularly amid the pandemic," said Anne Finucane, vice chairman at Bank of America. "With new sources of funding being developed, Bank of America continues to make strategic investments in them to ensure greater access to capital for entrepreneurs. This new online resource has more than 350 sources of capital, may continue to grow, and is the only place where one can find this vital, aggregated content."
"Women's entrepreneurship is crucial to the growth of our economy and access to capital is one of the key challenges women continue to face," said Serena Williams, founder of Serena Ventures. "Bank of America has become a leader in providing growth capital to women and minority founders, and we are proud to be partnering with them and of their support of Serena Ventures. Today they are leading the way with a digital destination that will provide education, information and access to funding options, contributing further to the goal of bridging that gap for women entrepreneurs across the U.S."
The Bank of America Access to Capital Directory provides resources and education for learning more about starting and funding your own business, as well as news and features spotlighting successful women entrepreneurs. The comprehensive, searchable database allows women seeking capital to sort potential funding by type - including seed, Series A or late-stage equity, as well as grants and debt capital – depending on their business stage and needs. While there is no guarantee that an applicant will receive the funding, their chances are improved when applying for the correct funding for the maturity and size of their business.
The directory provides resources broadly to small business owners of all backgrounds, and builds on the bank's support of minority-owned small businesses who face similar challenges when seeking capital. The platform will continue to evolve over time as new sources of funding are identified.
Investing in women
At Bank of America, our ongoing work to invest in women means supporting women business owners and putting into action the belief that female entrepreneurs are fundamental to driving strong, healthy economies.
In 2020, we expanded opportunities for 50,000 women entrepreneurs to participate in the Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship at Cornell, the only online Ivy League certificate program for women business owners in the world. More than 20,000 women are currently enrolled, 86% of whom identify as women of color, representing nearly 100 countries including the U.S.
We've also committed $100 million in capital since 2014 to the Tory Burch and Bank of America Capital Program, helping almost 4,000 women business owners gain access to affordable loans, totaling more than $65 million to date through CDFIs, to help them grow their businesses.
As part of our $1.25 billion commitment to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity, Bank of America has committed more than $300 million to 100 minority-focused investment funds across the U.S. These funds provide capital to Black, Hispanic-Latino, Asian, Native American, other under-represented minority and women entrepreneurs to help them establish and grow their businesses.
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