Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center teams up with Bank of the West to advance women and minority-owned businesses

Collaboration advances economic mobility and gender equality during challenging times

Two African-American business women and one Asian business woman sit at a white conference table having a discussion

The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is thrilled to announce a two-year relationship with Bank of the West to help women and diverse founders overcome obstacles and reach key business goals. The collaboration supports entrepreneurs looking to launch or grow their enterprises, and also provides valuable resources to existing small business owners who may have been effected by recent COVID-19 events.

Since 2014, the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center (“the Center”) has served more than 25,000 entrepreneurs—half of whom are women and more than 60% of whom are people of color. The relationship with Bank of the West will enable the Center to expand its current programming so entrepreneurs can better navigate opportunities during challenging economic times and achieve their dreams of a sustainable business. Current program highlights include:

  • IPO Bootcamp, a 4-part live webinar series designed to help private companies better understand the process behind an initial public offering
  • Business coaching, peer mentorship and networking opportunities across industries and globally
  • A resource navigator with guidance on topics such as Finance and Funding, Marketing and Sales, HR + Operations, Wellness and Community, and, more recently, SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness 

“Our collaboration with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is one way we’re helping to level the playing field in a society where less than 3% of venture capital flows to women and 95% of women-owned businesses never reach even $1 million in revenue,” said Michelle Di Gangi, Head of Small and Medium Enterprise Business at Bank of the West. “By investing in women and minority entrepreneurs, we’re advancing economic mobility and gender equality—in businesses and across our communities.” 

Di Gangi, who champions the bank’s Women Entrepreneur initiative, recently joined the Center’s board of directors.

“An estimated 12.3 million women-owned businesses employ 9.2 million people in the U.S. During these unprecedented times, it’s critical that women and diverse businesses have access to expertise and resources that can help them start or grow their enterprises. Their success supports the well-being of our communities and the greater economy,” said Jeffrey Thomas, president of the Center’s board of directors and Nasdaq’s Senior Vice President and Head of Western US Listings & Capital Markets. 

Headshot picture of Michelle Di Gangi
"Our collaboration with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial center is one way we're helping to level the playing field".

The Center’s mission to deliver world-class resources and mentoring enables entrepreneurs across the globe to realize their maximum potential. Serving the next generation of risk-takers and idea makers, the Center supports individual entrepreneurs from all industries and stages of growth, and fosters long-lasting connections for entrepreneurs across disciplines. Through high quality, complimentary immersive experiences, and both virtual and on-location educational events with experts, the Center trains founders from every background.

Nicola Corzine, Executive Director at the Center said of the new relationship, “With the support of Bank of the West, the Center will be better able to identify entrepreneur and small business needs in real time and provide meaningful and long lasting mentorship to founders of every background. Together we stand committed to building more inclusive entrepreneurship.”

And if you're a consumer, please do what you can to support small business right now. Try one of the many restaurants offering take-out options. Buy gift cards for future services. Take online yoga classes from your neighborhood studio; it's a great way to help and to give yourself some much-needed respite.

Now is a good time to lean on community. Let's make sure that we use these incredibly challenging times to rise where we can and strengthen our relationships.

Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center

The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center (“the Center”) is an independent, non-profit organization committed to advancing entrepreneurial education worldwide – for every stage, every industry, and every background. Since 2014, the Center has provided pathways for high talent, underestimated entrepreneurs to gain much needed access to founder training while also bringing new industry benchmarking to light. The Center strives to deliver critically important mentorship and connections possible to foster business innovation and advance the ideas of people who are capable of being the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Established with the support of the Nasdaq Educational Foundation and located in San Francisco, the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is a destination for the next generation of risk-takers and idea makers who take the plunge into entrepreneurship. For more information visit: https://thecenter.nasdaq.org/ 

About Bank of the West

At Bank of the West, we know money deposited in a bank has the power to finance positive change. So we are taking action to ensure our activities help protect the planet, improve people’s lives, and strengthen communities. We are redefining banking for a better future by focusing on areas where we believe we can have a real impact: supporting energy transition, helping enable women entrepreneurs, and financing innovative start-ups. As the bank for a changing world, Bank of the West is committed to sustainable finance along with our parent company BNP Paribas. Through Digital Channels and offices across the U.S., Bank of the West provides financial tools and resources to more than 2 million individuals, families and businesses.

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