Bank of America, Seneca Women Launch Worldwide Women-Focused Marketplace
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is doubling down on its efforts to help one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs: women.
This week, the bank announced it had teamed up with Seneca Women to launch an online marketplace exclusively featuring women-owned businesses from around the world, allowing consumers to access new markets and opportunities to shop and support.
Earlier this year, the two groups partnered to expand a database designed to help female entrepreneurs learn about available sources of funding, including equity, debt and grant capital. The Bank of America Access to Capital Directory now includes standalone sections specifically designed for women entrepreneurs, as well as Hispanic-Latino and Black entrepreneurs.
Its latest venture, Bank of America Marketplace by Seneca Women, features a wide range of women-owned businesses, searchable by category and geography. It currently spotlights about 100 women from around the world, including the U.S., Germany, India and Mexico, with various sectors represented, such as apparel, food items, home goods, fitness and beauty products.
“The Marketplace allows us to leverage our resources, partnerships and scale to create greater opportunities for women business owners to reach new markets for their products and services,” said Cynthia Bowman, chief diversity, inclusion and corporate social responsibility officer at Bank of America. “At Bank of America, we know that when women thrive, whole families, whole communities and whole economies thrive.”
Nearly half the nation’s new business owners – 49% — in 2021 were women, up from 28% in 2019, according to an analysis by payroll and benefits provider Gusto Inc. That surge comes at a time when there have been more business startups than ever before. More than 5 million new businesses were formed in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a number surpassed only by 5.4 million new businesses in 2021.
“Women business owners have shown remarkable resilience and ingenuity during these challenging times, starting businesses at historic rates,” said Sharon Bowen, partner at Seneca Women and chair of the New York Stock Exchange. “The Bank of America Marketplace by Seneca Women will enable us to support them by shopping from incredible women-owned businesses.”
BofA has leveraged key partners, including the Tory Burch Foundation, Cherie Blair Foundation, the BofA Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, and Vital Voices to help identify women who are taking part in the Marketplace.
“Access to markets is critically important to any business, whether mission-based or for-profit,” said Ariela Suster, CEO of Sequence Collection, an El-Salvador-based social enterprise whose products are available on Marketplace. “At Sequence, increasing our visibility and market opportunities will help us fulfill our mission of disrupting the cycle of violence that limits at-risk youth, and provide employment and training opportunities for young men and women who live in gang and violence-ridden communities.”
Consumers can access the Marketplace here.