CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of Bank of America’s $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, today – Women’s Entrepreneurship Day – the company announced a further expansion of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell. Due to the program’s success, Bank of America will add 30,000 seats – bringing the total enrollment of small business owners to 50,000 – and will work with Cornell to develop a Spanish language curriculum and hire Spanish-speaking teaching assistants to more effectively support Hispanic-Latino entrepreneurs.
The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell is the only Ivy League program offering a certificate in women’s entrepreneurship, and at no cost. Since its launch in 2018, the institute has enrolled more than 20,000 individuals, primarily women, of whom 86% identify as women of color. Registration is open to anyone worldwide, regardless of gender, educational background or business stage.
As part of the program expansion, Bank of America will partner with several nonprofits, including the National Urban League, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders and Prospera, to create more enrollment opportunities for Black and Hispanic-Latino entrepreneurs.
The challenges that women entrepreneurs face have multiplied over recent months. According to a recent McKinsey study, while women made up 46% of U.S. employment pre-coronavirus, they account for 54% of overall job losses year to date – with women of color the hardest hit.
“With women bearing much of the economic brunt of the pandemic – and particularly women of color – our further investment in the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell has never felt more important,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman at Bank of America. “Amid the unforeseen challenges and events this year, we must continue to invest in women entrepreneurs to drive economic growth, because when women-owned businesses thrive, our communities flourish.”
“We at Cornell are extremely proud of the impact the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship is having on aspiring entrepreneurs,” said Martha E. Pollack, president of Cornell University. “The institute builds on Cornell’s commitment to the public good and on the strength of our faculty in providing practical, focused, accessible education.”
Through coursework that draws on curricula from across Cornell’s schools, the instructor-led classes and limited class size provide women the opportunity to learn new skills, connect with a vibrant network of entrepreneurs and social innovators, and access the resources they need to manage and scale a successful business. These courses include Creating Your Venture; Laying the Legal Building Blocks; Assessing and Obtaining Financial Resources; Growth Leadership for Women Entrepreneurs; Product Development and Digital Marketing; and Communication, Negotiation and Persuasiveness.
Investing in women
Bank of America’s investment in women as they make meaningful contributions within the company and in communities around the world includes a focus on being a great place to work for its female employees, improving the financial lives of female clients, and advancing women’s economic empowerment worldwide. The company has several long-standing partnerships, through which it has helped more than 30,000 women from 85 countries grow their businesses, including:
- Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program: Since 2014, Bank of America has committed $100 million in capital to the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program, helping women business owners gain access to affordable loans. To date, more than 3,400 women have received nearly $57 million in loans through community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to help them grow their businesses.
- Global Ambassadors Program: A partnership between Bank of America and Vital Voices, the Global Ambassadors Program pairs women entrepreneurs with senior women executives for a week of one-on-one mentorship and workshops designed to build business acumen. To date, the program has impacted more than 400 women from 85 countries – helping mentees grow their businesses and organizations through more than 8,000 hours of training and mentorship.
- Cherie Blair Foundation: Since 2013, Bank of America has partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation on its Mentoring Women in Business program, which has matched more than 2,700 women in developing and emerging countries to online mentors, including more than 500 mentors from Bank of America.
- Kiva: Through a partnership with Kiva, Bank of America has committed more than $2 million in funds to women business owners, assisting more than 17,200 women entrepreneurs from 45 countries.
Recent Bank of America announcements focused on racial equality, diversity and inclusion, and economic opportunity include:
- Ten Completed Equity Investments in Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institution Banks
- $2 Billion Equality Progress Sustainability Bond
- Universal ESG Reporting; International Business Council of World Economic Forum
- Recognition as Top Global Bank on Fortune’s “Change the World” List
- $300 Million of Its $1 Billion, Four-Year Commitment to Advance Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity
- Support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America With $1 Million Grant to Support Educational Programs
- Bank of America Commits $100,000 to Athena Alliance to Support Underrepresented Women
- $1 Billion/Four-Year Commitment to Support Economic Opportunity Initiatives
- $250 Million in Capital and $10 Million in Philanthropic Grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).
Eliza Murphy, Bank of America