OREANDA-NEWS. Bank of America today announced that it is doubling its investment in the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program (formerly Elizabeth Street Capital) to connect more women small business owners to affordable capital through community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Since the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program was announced in January 2014, $10 million has been loaned to women entrepreneurs during that two-year timeframe. The bank will increase program funding to $20 million for loans in 2016 and 2017.

“Women business owners are a critical component of sustainable economic growth,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman, Bank of America. “Our partnership with the Tory Burch Foundation demonstrates the power of shared success – providing capital that helps women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, in turn helping local economies thrive.”

The program has also expanded to four additional states with two new CDFI partners – Georgia (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs – ACE), Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico (Accion New Mexico). In addition, CDFIs participating in the capital program will be able to offer a 2 percent interest rate reduction on loans for qualifying borrowers.

Tory Burch, founder of the Tory Burch Foundation, said, “Women entrepreneurs face many obstacles, including access to capital. We are thrilled by the continued commitment of Bank of America to our mission, including this extraordinary, additional investment. By investing in women, we are strengthening families and communities, creating jobs and helping to power economic growth. We know that when women succeed, we all succeed.”

Launched in 2014, the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program is a partnership between Bank of America and the Tory Burch Foundation that aims to increase the number and size of businesses owned and led by women, creating communities of women entrepreneurs. The program connects women business owners with affordable loans that are administered through local CDFIs, which provide capital and financial services to underserved markets and populations, including women entrepreneurs. Bank of America is the largest investor in CDFIs, with more than $1 billion in investments to more than 240 CDFI partners across the U.S.

The program has been launched in 17 states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and the four additional markets announced today (Georgia, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona). CDFI partners have disbursed $10 million in affordable loans to nearly 300 women entrepreneurs in a range of industries, including hospitality, home improvement, fashion, and child care.

The Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program has enabled business owner and chocolatier Andr?a Pedraza and her daughter, Cindy, to grow their business, CocoAndr?, into the first women-occupied, owner-owned, Hispanic business in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood. Administered through CDFI PeopleFund in Texas, the program has been more than a source of financial capital for the Pedrazas – it has become a mechanism through which they can reinvest in their families and their communities, with Andr?a noting: “Our husbands and the people in our neighborhood are proud of the fact that we are Hispanic women who own a business. We have seen a lot of support and returning customers – people who have made our chocolates a part of their holidays and traditions, and who want to see us succeed.”

“Women entrepreneurs seeking capital are more likely to be turned down for loans than men, with only one in 23 dollars in loans going to a woman,” said Laurie Fabiano, president of the Tory Burch Foundation. “Women need to be connected to sources that they may not know about. This is why we created the capital program, and we are thrilled to expand our impact.”

Bank of America’s partnership with the Tory Burch Foundation demonstrates a shared commitment to advancing women’s economic empowerment by connecting women entrepreneurs to the capital they need to succeed. By developing women within the company, creating products and strategies that meet women’s needs, and supporting women leaders globally, Bank of America is championing women’s economic advancement around the world.