BMO Bank of Montreal said today it was deepening its “commitment to women entrepreneurs and business owners” with $1.2 million in funding provided to SheEO, a not-for-profit company that provides financial support to businesses led by women and non-binary people.
According to a release from the bank, the financial commitment will allow SheEO to fund twice as many ventures working to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2021.
“The pandemic has created an additional challenge and barrier to women business owners, but we want to turn that around and ensure women entrepreneurs can hold their ground and emerge from the pandemic in a stronger position,” said Mike Bonner, head of Canadian business banking at BMO.
BMO’s collaboration with SheEO aligns with the bank’s newly announced five-year diversity and representation goals, centred around creating a more inclusive society. The not for profit’s focus, it said, is on reducing barriers woman-owned businesses face when trying to obtain financing, and funding ventures that address sustainability issues faced worldwide.
Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO, said the investment in SheEO will help a “growing number of women-owned businesses affected by the pandemic to have the opportunity to grow and prosper with this additional funding.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to double the number of ventures for the first time since we launched in 2015 – together we have an even greater opportunity to tackle some of the leading social issues of our time.”
As part of its long-standing commitment to women-owned businesses, BMO said it has:
- Made $3 billion in capital available to women-owned businesses across Canada over three years
- Invested in solutions to improve support for women entrepreneurs – and all small businesses – like BMO Business Xpress
- Funded over $35,000,000 to women-owned businesses via BMO Business Xpress
- Pledged $100,000 in grants to women-owned businesses to help them better position themselves coming out of the pandemic
- Rolled out training modules for Commercial and Business Banking Relationship Managers, focused on enabling them to better understand the barriers faced by women business owners and how to better assist them.