Bank of America's new Access to Capital Directory helps women-owned businesses secure funding

  • Sadia Naveed

    Sadia Naveed

  • Happy businesswoman with a laptop

    Happy businesswoman with a laptop

 
By Sadia Naveed
Bank of America
Updated 1/25/2022 3:32 PM

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, women own and operate about 42 percent of the roughly 1.2 million small businesses in Illinois. What's more, the Chicago area -- a burgeoning hub for technology and startups -- is home to the largest concentration of women founders in the nation.

Still, according to Bank of America's 2019 Women-Owned Business Spotlight, about 60 percent of women entrepreneurs nationally say they do not have the same access to capital as their male counterparts. What's more, nearly 25 percent of women who own businesses believe that men and women will never have equal access to capital.

 

Recognizing the number of challenges faced by women business owners and the importance of solid funding for any growing business, Bank of America recently partnered with Seneca Women, a global leadership platform focused on advancing women and girls to create a more equitable society, to launch a first-of-its-kind platform to help women understand and navigate capital funding options to launch or expand their businesses.

The Bank of America Access to Capital Directory is a comprehensive database designed to help women entrepreneurs learn about various sources of funding, including equity, debt, loans and grants, along with alternate resources. Equipped with that knowledge, women entrepreneurs can then connect with institutions and organizations that match their capital needs and are committed to their success.

The platform features more than 350 sources of capital across six key funding sources: Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), venture capital firms and angel investors, grants, loan funds and crowdfunds. The directory congregates these sources in an easy-to-navigate platform, enabling women to search and sort by keywords, focus area, fund type or range of capital amount needed. Additionally, the platform features current news, success stories and other resources to help women business owners thrive.

Bank of America expects the directory to grow and evolve over time, expanding its range of resources, education, tools, and funding sources to meet women entrepreneurs wherever they are in their business growth journeys.

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This initiative builds on Bank of America's long history of support for women entrepreneurs and small business owners. Since 2014, Bank of America has committed $100 million to the Tory Burch and Bank of America Capital Program, which has helped nearly 4,000 women gain access to more than $65 million in affordable loans through our CDFI partners. And in 2020, we welcomed an additional 50,000 women into the Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship at Cornell, the world's only online Ivy League certificate program for women entrepreneurs.

On the local level, Bank of America has a robust network of small business bankers who are dedicated to helping our small business clients succeed. Working one on one with clients, we help clients plan and execute their financial and business goals while navigating everything from payroll and vendor management to point of sale systems and capital needs. This level of support is critical and can often be the difference for a small-business owner working to take her business to the next level.

Bank of America is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs. In alignment with our five-year, $1.25 billion commitment to advance racial equity and economic opportunity, the bank has committed more than $300 million to investments in underrepresented minority and women entrepreneurs. We firmly believe this is the avenue to building stronger, healthier local economies and to setting the stage for the next generation of women business owners and leaders.

• Sadia Naveed is a vice president and small business banker for Bank of America in the Chicago area.

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