Bank of America (BoA) is investing US$10m in Calvert Foundation, which raises investment for non-profits and social enterprises worldwide, to make loans to organisations that support women in developing countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.
The bank said that these organisations positively affect women in a number of ways, from connecting women-led, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with financing to providing access to services and products.
BoA added that supporting women is critical for creating jobs, sparking local revitalisation and building a more vibrant economy. It is estimated that less than 10% of women operating SMEs have access to capital, and access to financing is continually identified by women entrepreneurs as a major constraint to growing their businesses.
Additionally, SMEs with full or partial female ownership represent 31-38% of formal SMEs in emerging markets. These firms typically employ between five and 250 people, representing a significant share of employment generation and economic growth potential.
“We have a strong partnership with BoA – they’re not only one of our biggest institutional investors, but this new investment is the largest we’ve received to promote women’s’ economic empowerment and development,” said Jennifer Pryce, Calvert Foundation president and chief executive (CEO).
“We’re aligned in our goals to empower women around the world, and the nature of the bank’s investment enables us to provide more patient capital, something our portfolio partners need.”
Anne Finucane, global strategy and marketing officer at BoA, added: “Combining our resources with Calvert Foundation’s know-how is a prime example of the role business can play in addressing a significant challenge, in this case a lack of access to capital for women entrepreneurs. These types of partnerships are essential to women’s economic empowerment.”
Calvert Foundation’s ‘Women Investing in Women Initiative’ (WIN-WIN), launched in 2012, has to date invested more than US$20m in organisations worldwide that empower women.
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