Gender diversity in business has become an important topic. Recent years have seen an increase in the rates of women venturing into entrepreneurship. CNBC says that, on a global level from 2015 to 2016, female entrepreneurship rates increased by more than double their male counterparts.
Businesses are increasingly judged – internally and externally – on the role of women in their organization, and market intelligence (MI) has an important role to play. According to a Dell study, the U.S. ranks number one in the world in terms of providing the world’s most favorable business climate for women entrepreneurs. As companies strive to maintain diversity and equality in their workforce, MI allows prospective business partners to women entrepreneurs to understand the significance of gender consideration in strategic business development.
Yet the struggle of female entrepreneurs and founders in the VC landscape is also well documented. In 2017 all-women teams received just $1.9 billion, or 2.2%, of the $85 billion total invested by venture capitalists.
This past April, Bank of America, in collaboration with Cornell University, announced the launch of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, an online learning portal that provides female entrepreneurs the skills, knowledge and resources to build, manage, and scale a successful business.
How the entrepreneurship initiative will work
Women entrepreneurs will apply for the online program, which will be offered at no cost. The learning portal features an e-curriculum created by professors from Cornell and Bank of America partners, which includes topics such as creating and funding ventures; product development and marketing; legal building blocks; and leadership, communication and negotiation skills.
The e-curriculum is expected to take an average of three months to complete and will also provide students access to customized research, content and events on relevant topics.
The institute will train 500 women through the executive certificate program by the end of the first year, with the goal of reaching 5,000 women entrepreneurs over the next four years.
In addition to the signature collaboration with Cornell, Bank of America invests in women through its Small Business Banking and Global Wealth and Investment Management businesses.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor noted the challenges women entrepreneurs face imply that support for new and established businesses, including coaching, access to capital, education and training, and other resources, is important to sustain them over time. This is an ideal place for MI to be used:
- finding out what prospective business partners or clients are doing in this field
- discovering what a competitor is doing so a company can highlight its own success in the area – or become aware of areas for improvement
- keeping on top of ongoing changes and initiatives in the dialogue
Could Bank of America’s collaboration with Cornell be a sign of things to come that will help bolster the ranks of American female entrepreneurs? Only time will tell. Using market intelligence to remain current in this ever-evolving field can help your financial institution stay ahead of the curve.
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This article was originally published on ShiftCentral, now part of LAC Group.