Just in time for Women’s History Month, Wells Fargo & Co. announced March 11 that it will lend a total of $55 billion to women-owned businesses in the United States by the year 2020.

“Women-owned businesses are among America’s fastest growing segments, and we are honored to support their role in shaping the future of small business,” said Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo lead executive for Small Business and West Coast Regional Banking president, in a statement.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 7.8 million women-owned businesses and another 4.6 million equally owned by men and women. Together, they account for 45 percent — nearly half — of all U.S. businesses.

As they’ve grown in number, women-owned businesses have also had a greater impact on the nation’s economy. For example, according to Census figures, in 2007, women-owned businesses in the U.S. employed 8.2 million workers and generated $1.3 trillion in receipts.

A leading financial institution, Wells Fargo first established its lending commitment to women-owned businesses 18 years ago, when it pledged to lend $1 billion to women business owners over three years. As the number of those businesses surged in number, the commitment increased. And since 1995, Wells Fargo has provided more than $38 billion in capital to women business owners.

In addition to providing capital, the institution also supports numerous outreach efforts, such as the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), the Women Presidents’ Organization, and other organizations focused on the education, growth and advancement of women business owners.

“As a leader in lending to women, Wells Fargo is dedicated to helping women succeed financially — in business and personally,” Stevens added.


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO