Bank of America has pledged $100 million to the Tory Burch Foundation to make capital available to women in the business sector who might not otherwise have access to it, according to reports.
“Women entrepreneurs face many obstacles, access to capital being the biggest and the most common,” said Tory Burch, founder of the Tory Burch Foundation. “I was incredibly fortunate — we were able to launch after a personal investment and one round of fundraising. This, of course, is not the case for most women.”
Burch is a fashion designer who started the foundation in 2009, with the goal of helping women entrepreneurs.
“I launched our business in 2004. I had a concept and, working out of my kitchen with a small team, turned that concept into a collection. As our company has grown, I’ve learned about the obstacles that women in business face, from balancing work and family (my greatest challenge) to securing financing,” she says on the foundation’s website. “Many also lack the confidence, business networks and training they need to see their ideas through. That is why in 2009 we created the Tory Burch Foundation to support the empowerment of women entrepreneurs.”
The program has doled out $46 million in loans to upwards of 2,500 women business owners in the past half decade, and more than 90 percent are still in business and current on payment.
“We want to continue to scale this support by committing another $50 million in capital,” said Andrew Plepler, global head of environmental, social and governance at Bank of America. “By empowering more women to start and scale a business, we are contributing to the economic progress in communities across the country.”
The program allows borrowers to receive between $500 and $100,000, and offers a 2 percent interest rate reduction. In order to be eligible, women need to have been running a business for two years, with positive revenue and an agreeable credit rating.
“I am so proud of what these women have been able to achieve, and watching their success manifest in concrete, tangible ways — hiring more employees, leasing bigger office spaces, expanding their product lines — is incredibly gratifying,” Burch said.