has announced a new commitment of $50 million in support of female small-business owners.
Announced on International Women's Day, the funding will support the , a joint venture of BofA and the that was launched in 2014 with an initial $50 million commitment of from the bank. The program works to increase the number and size of businesses owned and led by women by connecting women business owners to loans administered by participating community development financial institutions (CDFIs), which offer a 2 percent reduction on loan interest rates for qualified borrowers.
With a presence in seventeen states, the program has enabled more than twenty-five hundred women entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, including accounting, hospitality, home improvement, fashion, and child care, to obtain $46 million in loans over the last five years. According to BofA, only one out of twenty-three loan dollars in the United States is distributed to women-owned businesses.
"We recognize that women entrepreneurs help fuel economic growth in communities across the U.S., and that access to capital remains a key challenge," said Andrew Plepler, global head of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) at Bank of America. "Partnering with the Tory Burch Foundation to advance women in small business is one way we invest in the future of local economies."
"We know women pay back loans at higher rates than men, but because of cultural bias, they are denied critical capital to grow their businesses," said Tory Burch, founder of the Tory Burch Foundation. "Over the past five years, the Capital Program has allowed us to reach women business owners at scale, and we're looking forward to doubling that investment."
(Photo credit: Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program)