Bank of America, in collaboration with Cornell University, announced today the launch of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, an online learning portal that provides women entrepreneurs the skills, knowledge and resources to build, manage, and scale a successful business.
“The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell will provide training and educational resources to women at all stages of entrepreneurship,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman, Bank of America. “Our signature collaboration with Cornell University demonstrates how we continue to deploy capital and invest in partnerships that advance women entrepreneurs and build thriving economies.”
Finucane announced the partnership at the World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings. The learning portal marks the latest move by Bank of America to invest in programs and partnerships that elevate women in small business to drive economic growth.
“The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell will be a tremendous resource for women in small business who need to hone their skills and take their organizations to the next level,” said Cornell Law Professor Stewart Schwab, faculty director of the Cornell Center for Women, Justice, Economy and Technology (Cornell Women JET). “We are excited to bring the expertise of our faculty to women entrepreneurs around the world.” An initiative of Cornell Women JET, the new institute will be a collaboration that draws on the expertise of faculty from Cornell Law School, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell Tech, Entrepreneurship at Cornell and eCornell, among others.
Women entrepreneurs are on the rise, scaling businesses, providing employment, and investing back into the communities they serve, but they often lack the resources to help them advance. Today, women are starting and growing their own businesses at record rates; they own an estimated 11.6 million businesses, employ nearly 9 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in annual revenues1. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor noted in a recent report that the challenges women entrepreneurs face imply that support for new and established businesses, including coaching, access to capital, education and training, and other resources, is important to sustain them over time.
The institute will offer an innovative online entrepreneurship curriculum, connect women with critical information and resources to address ongoing challenges, including access to networks and capital, and foster a vibrant network of empowered women entrepreneurs and social innovators. Women entrepreneurs will apply for the online program, which will be offered at no cost. The learning portal features an e-curriculum created by professors from Cornell and Bank of America partners, which covers topics such as creating and funding your venture; product development and marketing; legal building blocks; and leadership, communication and negotiation skills. The e-curriculum is expected to take an average of three months to complete and will also provide students access to customized research, content and events on relevant topics. The institute will train 500 women through the executive certificate program by the end of the first year, with the goal of reaching 5,000 women entrepreneurs over the next four years.
In addition to the signature collaboration with Cornell, Bank of America invests in women through its Small Business Banking and Global Wealth and Investment Management businesses. A recent U.S. Trust white paper profiling the journey of eight women entrepreneurs found five common attributes were contributors to their success: people and culture, education and experience, resilience and optimism, women’s leadership, and access to capital. The bank partners with a range of global, U.S. and local organizations that work to improve the lives of women and advance thriving economies. Working to reflect the communities where its employees live and work, the company has strong representation of women at all levels of the organization and supports women through career development programs and industry-leading benefits, including 16 weeks of paid parental leave, backup child care and adult care services.
Located in Ithaca, N.Y. and New York City, Cornell is a private, Ivy League university and the land-grant university for New York State. Cornell's mission is to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge; produce creative work; and promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of our students, the people of New York, and others around the world.
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