VEDC Awarded $150,000 Grant from Bank of America to Support Women Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles

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Up to 30 women entrepreneurs to benefit from the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program through VEDC financing opportunities.

Toni Ricci, Elite Dance & Performing Arts,

Toni Ricci, owner of Elite Dance & Performing Arts and client of VEDC.

Women entrepreneurs are a critical component of sustainable economic growth.

Three community-minded organizations have joined forces to offer a financial and mentoring boost to women entrepreneurs in Los Angeles County. According to VEDC – a leading non-profit small business lender – up to 30 woman VEDC borrowers will receive two percent interest rate discounts thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program, powered by Bank of America.

Launched in 2014, the Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America created the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program to connect women entrepreneurs to affordable capital to help grow their businesses, creating communities of women business owners.

“Access to capital is one of the biggest obstacles women entrepreneurs face,” says Laurie Fabiano, President of the Tory Burch Foundation. “Just $1 in every $23 loan dollars are given to women owned business. Through our partnership we are helping to level the playing field for women.”

Alex Guerrero, Chief Development Officer of VEDC, believes the Capital Program is an absolute difference-maker for women entrepreneurs, especially for those striving to achieve their business goals and create jobs in communities often underserved by traditional lending institutions. And while VEDC plans to leverage the grant to generate 1.5 million in loan capital for women-owned businesses, he points out that funding is just one piece of the Capital Program.

“As part of the program, women business owners have access to financial mentoring and coaching services through VEDC,” Guerrero said. “We offer a number of learning opportunities through our local business centers, including special workshops geared to women covering everything from accounting to marketing. The bottom line is that program participant’s benefit from having a team of experts providing insight, tips and encouragement every step of the way.”

Guerrero says that nothing is more gratifying than watching a client turn their long-time entrepreneurial dream into a business reality.

“Toni Ricci, featured on VEDC.org, founded Elite Dance & Performing Arts in Woodland Hills after teaching dance for 10 years. Today, she serves 350 students and her facility has undergone three major expansions – and we’re proud to say that we’ve been there for her every step of the way.

“When she needed working capital to ‘keep her going’, as she says, we assisted with a $10,000 loan. We’ve also been there as her business has dramatically expanded, including a recent $100,000 loan for a beautiful new rehearsal hall.”

According to Toni, who knew she would be a dancer at age 5, VEDC has played a significant role in the growth of Elite Dance. “The community is lucky to have companies like VEDC,” she said. “Just because somebody doesn’t have a lot of money, or perhaps can’t qualify for a traditional loan, doesn’t mean they’re not good for repayment. The Capital Program is just another really positive way that corporations are supporting women entrepreneurs such as myself.”

“VEDC has been an important and long-time partner with Bank of America bringing resources to Los Angeles’ diverse and vibrant start up community. And working with VEDC as part of the Capital Program delivers even more capital, micro loans and resources like mentoring for women business owners in the Southland,” said Janet Lamkin, California president, Bank of America. “Women entrepreneurs are a critical component of sustainable economic growth. By providing capital that helps women business owners grow their businesses, we can in turn help local economies thrive.”

As a long-time supporter of VEDC, Bank of America has provided $930,000 in grants that VEDC has deployed to help small businesses access capital and education resources to help grow their businesses, promoting jobs and economic development in low-and moderate-income communities.

To learn more about the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program, and the many other financial programs offered by VEDC, call 1.818.907.9977 or go to vedc.org.

About VEDC
VEDC works to create and sustain jobs and businesses in the Los Angeles area by providing high-quality small business development services, making them more available, sustainable and impactful. VEDC is a leading non-profit small business lender with community based loan funds in cities across the nation. In the Los Angeles area, it operates and facilitates several programs and projects such as: the Los Angeles Women's Business Center, two Los Angeles BusinessSource Centers, and the Watts Entrepreneur Business Accelerator. The combination of successful programs that anticipate the needs of growing businesses in an ever-changing economy has created a focused vision of economic opportunity, effective organization of resources, and the fostering of job creation.

About Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation empowers women entrepreneurs by providing access to capital, education and digital resources: the Fellows Program provides ten Fellows annually with support to grow their businesses; the Tory Burch Capital Program, powered by Bank of America has distributed $25 million dollars in loans to 1,000 women entrepreneurs; more than 140 women have completed an in-depth business education course through the Tory Burch Foundation cohort of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Education Program; and the Foundation’s website, http://www.ToryBurchFoundation.org, is a go-to destination for women entrepreneurs. The Foundation’s global initiative #EmbraceAmbition launched in March 2017, encouraging women everywhere to own their power, their drive and their dreams. In the past year, the Foundation provided online tools and digital education to more than 200,000 women entrepreneurs and more than 10,000 women created their business plans on ToryBurchFoundation.org. Follow the Tory Burch Foundation on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter with the hashtag #EmbraceAmbition.

Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance Approach
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News.

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Matt Chimento
VEDC
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Noelle Bell
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