Bank of America Offers 100,000 Small Business Owners Skills-Building Through the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell
Today, in recognition of Women’s History Month, Bank of America 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 50,000 seats – bringing the total enrollment of small business owners to 100,000 – enabling women entrepreneurs, specifically women entrepreneurs of color, to gain critical business acumen to drive their businesses forward. This expansion is just one way the company is delivering on its commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.
Since its launch in 2018, the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell has enrolled 50,000 individuals from the U.S. and 120 additional countries, primarily women, of whom 90% identify as women of color. Registration is open to anyone worldwide, regardless of gender, educational background or business stage, and is the only Ivy League program offering a certificate in women’s entrepreneurship, at no cost.
According to Bank of America Private Bank research, women in the U.S. are starting and growing their own businesses at record rates; they own an estimated 13 million businesses, or four out of every ten; employ over 9 million people; generate $1.9 trillion in annual revenues, nearly five times the national average; and are a catalyst for change.
“We know women entrepreneurs lack the access to resources they need to manage and scale a successful business – a need that is even more acute for women of color,” said Sheri Bronstein, chief human resources officer at Bank of America. “We continue to receive feedback from participants about how the skills they’ve gained are propelling them forward – benefiting them, their families, their businesses and employees and their communities – and we’re thrilled to expand the program further to reach more women small business owners.”
"Aspiring entrepreneurs who participate in the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell are getting the best of both worlds: learning from Cornell faculty about the concepts and tools for success in their new ventures, and encouragement from a growing startup community that is inclusive and supportive,” said Martha E. Pollack, president of Cornell University.
The instructor-led classes and limited class size provide women the opportunity to learn new skills while connecting with a vibrant network of entrepreneurs and social innovators. Through coursework that draws on curricula from across Cornell’s schools, these lessons 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.
Bank of America’s long-standing partnerships with the Tory Burch Foundation, Vital Voices, the Cherie Blair Foundation, Kiva and Cornell University have helped 75,000 women from more than 140 countries grow their businesses. As part of its journey to provide assistance to women entrepreneurs, the company recently launched The Bank of America Access to Capital Directory, which provides women-owned businesses with a significant resource to help them understand the capital landscape. In 2021, the bank increased its target for equity investment in minority-focused funds to $350 million, including capital to under-represented minority and women entrepreneurs.
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).
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Eliza Murphy, Bank of America