Eastern Bank launched Equity Alliance for Business to further advance the growth of underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs. Specifically for business owners who are women or people of color and all their intersectionality, including the LGBTQIA+, veterans and disabled communities, Equality Alliance for Business provides a specialized credit offering designed to meet the needs of diverse business owners. It also provides access to other banking and community services as well as entrepreneurial insights and tools, with input from leading business support organizations and delivered by a team of diverse bankers.

“Eastern has a deep and long-held commitment to advancing equity and opportunity for all, and Equity Alliance for Business is yet another step in advancing our commitment to economic inclusion and strengthening our communities,” Quincy Miller, vice chair and president of Eastern Bank, said. “We understand resources such as specialized credit programs designed to address systemic inequities, specially trained bankers and financial tools and community partnerships are game-changing in opening up much-needed opportunities of support for entrepreneurs and business owners.”

Equity Alliance for Business seeks to meet the needs of business owners with 51% or greater ownership by women or people of color and all their intersectionality, including the LGBTQIA+, veterans and disabled communities, who may not qualify for access to capital with traditional underwriting standards. The ecosystem offers:

Local 1:1 Relationships: A team of Equity Alliance for Business bankers serve as consultative relationship managers to business owners and are grounded in the communities where underserved businesses operate.

Credit Solutions Including a special purpose credit program: specialized credit product and other solutions designed to meet the needs of diverse business owners and address systemic inequities inherent in standard credit products today; term loans up to $250,000 are available.

Supplementary Financial Products and Services: financial products beyond credit and lending solutions, such as Monit, a mobile-friendly financial assistant built for small business owners, customized to help business owners maximize their time and business operations.

Access To Other Tools and Resources: Help beyond financial products, with access to insights, network building and community collaborations.

“We know it takes more than capital for small businesses to thrive,” Abby Nguyen-Burke, senior vice president and team leader of Equity Alliance for Business, said. “That’s why in addition to our existing branch managers and business bankers we’ve created a dedicated Equity Alliance for Business team of change agents to work with highly regarded community partners, many of whom helped to inform this approach, who offer access to mentoring, networking and other entrepreneurial insights and tools.”

Eastern is working with business support organizations to offer access to business insights, networking and other resources in the communities it serves, including Ascendus, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), Interise, Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI).

Karla Morales, owner and founder of Bohio Clean and co-founder of Your Home Detox, is the first business owner to secure a loan through Equity Alliance for Business. She identifies as nonbinary, and her business is a womxn- and Latinx-led, earth-friendly, commercial and residential cleaning platform transforming the cleaning industry to be a pathway to freedom and sustainable living wages.

“Before applying to Equity Alliance for Business to receive a loan, I had been looking at other financing solutions and was consistently denied,” Morales said. “With a very small percentage of all capital going to small businesses like mine led by queer, BIPOC womxn, getting assistance has been challenging. I am really thankful to benefit from a solution trying to create more opportunity for business owners like me.”

Morales plans to use the term loan she received for day-to-day business operations, such as managing payroll, purchasing new cleaning equipment and investing in sales and marketing.