Bank of America Announces Expansion of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell University

December 16, 2019 at 9:00 AM Eastern

Bank of America today announced the expansion of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell. This unique online business certificate program connects women entrepreneurs to skills, knowledge and resources to build, manage and scale a successful business, while creating a vibrant network of women entrepreneurs and social innovators. Provided through Cornell University, an ivy-league institution, the program sets itself apart with instructor-led classes and limited class size.

Since its inception in 2018, the program has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from women entrepreneurs, with 10,000 students enrolled in the certificate program through 2021. In response to this demand, Bank of America has increased its commitment to support a total program enrollment of 20,000 entrepreneurs. The coursework includes creating a venture, finding funding, leadership, legal, product development, communications, and negotiations, drawing on curricula from across Cornell’s schools. Bank of America selected Cornell for the partnership based on the institution’s expertise and resources in delivering online curricula tailored to the needs of women small business owners.

“We developed the Bank of America Institute for Women's Entrepreneurship at Cornell in response to feedback we received from our partnerships with nonprofits, women's organizations and our own clients,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman, Bank of America. “Working with Cornell, we developed an online curriculum which provides a training program designed to help women, at all stages of entrepreneurship, develop and grow their businesses. Based on the early success of the program and the thousands of women who enrolled and have completed the program, we are committing to an expanded effort."

A recent report found that women entrepreneurs often experience limited access to established social and business networks, which encompass knowledgeable mentors and opportunities for capital expansion.1 Through the partnership with Cornell, women are given the opportunity to break through those barriers to learn new skills, connect with other professionals, and access the resources they need to pursue their goals of growing a business.

According to the institute's program director, Kirsten Barker, "One key advantage of our online courses is the presence of teaching assistants who provide real feedback to the students. While delivering world-class business education was the main driver of this program, we have found that the relationships formed with instructors and fellow classmates are a powerful takeaway that continue to support students long after they complete the online coursework."


Supporting a growing segment of business owners

Bank of America is committed to supporting women business owners and recognizes that women entrepreneurs are fundamental to strong, healthy economies. Approximately 40 percent of Bank of America’s small business clients are women, while one out of every three small businesses in the U.S. are women-owned. This year’s Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight found that women business owners are poised for growth in 2020. Per the report, revenue forecasts and expansion plans have reached four-year highs — notably stronger among women entrepreneurs than their male peers.

The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell2 is one of many ways the company supports women in business, through its products and services as well as partnerships that support opportunities for mentorship, training, and access to capital. The newly launched Bank of America Center for Women Entrepreneurs website connects women entrepreneurs to expertise, insights, and opportunities to access capital. The company has also formed long-standing partnerships, through which it has helped more than 10,000 women from 80 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, the program has delivered capital through community development financial institutions to more than 3,200 women in 16 states.
  • Global Ambassadors Program: A partnership between Bank of America and Vital Voices, the Global Ambassadors Program pairs women entrepreneurs (mentees) with senior women executives for a week of one-on-one mentorship and workshops designed to build business acumen. With the 20th Global Ambassadors Program being held last month in Paris, the program has impacted more than 350 women from 85 countries – helping mentees grow their businesses and organizations through more than 6,500 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 2,000 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, and to date, that funding has assisted more than 7,200 women entrepreneurs in more than 30 countries.

1 Source: “Beyond the Bucks: Growth Strategies of Successful Women Entrepreneurs,” commissioned by bank of America and Babson College.

2 While the coursework was designed with women entrepreneurs in mind, the online program is open to participants of any gender identity.


Bank of America

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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Vanessa Cook, Bank of America
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