NextGen Investing: Women get key to unlock capital

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Bank of America has compiled a pool of resources to help women business owners access financing they might not otherwise receive or know about.

“If I were starting a small business, I know I would feel more confident if I knew what resources existed, what credentials they expect to see and who I could turn to,” Bank of America vice chairman Anne Finucane said.

Bank of America found that 42% of women business owners have never applied for a business loan or line of credit. “They are seeking access to capital at various stages in their business journey, and often uncertain how to enter the marketplace and connect with venture firms,” Finucane said.

While there is no guarantee an applicant would receive funding through the new directory, her chances improve when she applies for the correct funding based on the maturity and size of her business.

The searchable database allows women to learn about the process from early to late-stage fundraising and connects them with more than 350 sources of capital. It expands on the bank’s earlier initiatives to support women in business. Last year, Bank of America invited 50,000 women entrepreneurs to participate in an online Ivy League certificate program for female business owners at Cornell University. More than 20,000 women from 100 countries enrolled.

“Women don’t think they have the same access, and in fact they often don’t have the same access to capital that men do,” Finucane said. The platform, she says, “levels the playing field.”