Increasing our support for women entrepreneurs
As part of BNP Paribas, Bank of the West has made significant commitments to drive change and positive social impact in our communities.
One step in this journey has been developing guidelines to stop funding tobacco. This means BNP Paribas and Bank of the West will cease the financing of companies whose principal activity is directly linked or dedicated to tobacco, whether manufacturing tobacco products or growing/distributing tobacco. (For more details, see this BNP Paribas announcement.)
We are increasing support for the development and growth of women entrepreneurs. Women play a key role in the economic security of families and communities. They are more likely to be the sole or primary breadwinner in their households than ever before, and many are doing so through small businesses. Yet the rate of women who start their own businesses is far lower than that of men, as noted in Michelle DiGangi’s interview with Nora Poggi, who made the film “She Started It.” This is something we are looking to change in the communities we serve. By supporting women business owners, we will be closing the wealth gap while fostering innovation and a stronger economy.
Recent commitments to women entrepreneurs include:
- A $1.5 million equity equivalent investment (EQ2) in Grameen America to support micro-loans to low-income women in New York and California. Over 10 years, our investment will support $35.8 million in micro-loans and will help create over 12,000 new businesses and 21,000 new jobs.
- Grant funding to support critical operations at Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap, a national non-profit that convenes advocates, organizers, researchers, practitioners, and funders to help close the gap by building the wealth of low-income women and women of color. Bank of the West has a special interest in understanding how we can increase wealth-building opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
- Bank of the West and BNP Paribas have jointly supported important global conferences such as the United Nations’ Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and the Women’s Forum Global Meeting.
- For the past four years, BNP Paribas has worked with our Wealth Management Group to host the week-long Women Entrepreneur Program at Stanford University, in which selected women entrepreneurs from around the world gather for a week to grow their skills and network.
That’s just the beginning. Stay tuned for more news in the coming months about our support for women entrepreneurs.