NEW YORK, June 15 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp. (BAC.N) said Thursday it has committed more than $500 million in equity investments to funds led by minority and women entrepreneurs, more than double its initial commitment of $200 million.
The bank has committed equity capital to more than 150 funds, which have invested in more than 1,000 companies across 40 states to date, she said.
These companies are led by 1,500 diverse entrepreneurs and employ more than 21,000 people.
“As a company, we have been thinking about how to support women and diverse entrepreneurs,” Tram Nguyen, global head of strategic and sustainable investments at Bank of America, told Reuters.
“Capital provided to disadvantaged entrepreneurs has the effect of unlocking their potential to grow their businesses locally and create economic opportunities,” Nguyen said.
Typically, these fund managers have experience having previously founded companies or investing as part of a larger fund. Now they’re taking that experience and heading out to start their own fund, she said.
One of the funds is Zeal Capital Partners, founded by Nasir Qadree, which provides founders with the resources they need to scale their business to the next level of growth.
It is an early investor in Esusu, one of the few black-owned unicorns, the release said. Unicorn refers to unlisted companies valued at $1 billion.
America’s banking giants have expanded their commitments to racial equity in the years since 2020, when the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a police officer sparked global protests.
“Every time we support a minority- or women-led fund, it in turn supports diverse entrepreneurs, ultimately helping us achieve our goal of advancing racial equality and opportunity economical,” Nguyen said.
Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Mark Porter
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