There’s good news for women entrepreneurs as Bank of America just announced it’s expanding the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell. To date, the program has been so successful that Bank of America is adding 50,000 seats—doubling the enrollment to 100,000 seats—enabling women entrepreneurs, especially women of color, to gain critical business acumen to better grow their companies.
The program, launched in 2018, has enrolled 50,000 people from the U.S. and 120 countries, primarily women, 90% of whom identify as women of color. Registration is open to anyone worldwide, regardless of gender, educational background, or business stage. The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell is the only Ivy League program offering a certificate in women’s entrepreneurship at no cost.
The expansion comes at a crucial time for women entrepreneurs. Pam Seagle, Global Manager for Women’s Programs at Bank of America, says, “Demand for the program among local entrepreneurs quickly outpaced our original capacity. By doubling the number, we’re creating greater access to help more women, the vast majority of whom are women of color, overcome barriers and achieve their dream of starting and growing a business.” –
And according to Bank of America Private Bank research, U.S. women are starting and growing businesses at record rates. Women currently own about 13 million businesses in America, employ more than 9 million people, and generate $1.9 trillion in annual revenues.
Sheri Bronstein, chief human resources officer at Bank of America, says, “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.” Feedback from program participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with the women saying the valuable skills they’ve gained enabled them to propel their businesses forward. Given this, Bronstein adds, “we’re thrilled to expand the program to reach more women small business owners.”
And Martha E. Pollack, president of Cornell University, adds, “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.”
The Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell is just one part of Bank of America’s efforts to help women entrepreneurs. The Bank also has partnered with the Tory Burch Foundation, Vital Voices, the Cherie Blair Foundation, and Kiva, helping more than 75,000 women from over 140 countries grow their businesses.
Plus, the company recently launched The Bank of America Access to Capital Directory, providing women-owned businesses with a “significant resource to help them understand the capital landscape,” and in 2021 increased its target for equity investment in minority-focused funds to $350 million, including capital to underrepresented minority and women entrepreneurs.