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BMO Announces 2021 Celebrating Women Grant Recipients on International Women's Entrepreneurship Day

$80,000 in grants awarded to 8 U.S. women-owned businesses

CHICAGO, Nov. 19, 2021 /CNW/ - BMO Harris Bank announced today the 2021 recipients of its BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program. This BMO community program awarded grants to eight U.S. women-owned businesses for their contributions to social, environmental and economic sustainability, whether through their organizations' policies, practices or products. The grant program aims to provide an additional source of financial aid to women-owned businesses.

The 2021 BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program U.S. recipients are below, with further information about each included in the attached media packet:

"Congratulations to these bold entrepreneurs who are driving change and advancing sustainability in their communities through their businesses," said Erminia (Ernie) Johannson, Group Head, North American Personal and Business Banking, BMO Financial Group. "Our commitment to removing barriers to women's financial progress is at the heart of our BMO Celebrating Women programs and a driving force behind our Purpose to boldly grow the good in business and in life. Through lending, investing, giving and engagement in our local communities, our goal is to create more opportunity for recovery and success."

Responses received from this year's applicants demonstrated that women business owners are among the most active, resilient and resourceful groups of entrepreneurs driving sustainable development in the United States. The recipients overcame the pandemic's challenges using creative and innovative ways of conducting business in an evolving environment.

BMO engaged the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub to conduct research on how the women business owners who applied for this year's grants incorporate sustainability into their businesses. Highlights of this research show:

  • Applicants implemented at least one sustainability initiative with 80 percent of businesses practicing social sustainability, 65 percent economic, and 50 percent environmental.
  • Many grant applicants aim to promote economic sustainability by ensuring better living standards for all through certifications and partnerships.
  • Almost all grant applicants stated that environmental protection through responsible consumption, waste management, and recycling is part of their business' everyday practice.
  • Women business owners are driving social sustainability outcomes by changing organizational culture and human resources practices by:
    •  Improving women's representation in business leadership and in the workforce;
    • Removing barriers for other women entrepreneurs; and
    • Creating thousands of jobs for women and other equity-seeking groups, including racialized, Indigenous, 2LGBTQS+ groups, immigrants, and newcomers.

The full Executive Summary can be accessed here.

Since announcing the annual BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program in 2020, BMO has:

  • Launched BMO EMpower – a series of long-term commitments to advance inclusive economic recovery in the United States, pledging $5 billion over five years to address key barriers faced by underserved businesses, communities, and families. The program has already exceeded early targets with over $2 billion in commitments during the first 12 months of the program.
  • As part of EMpower, announced $300 million for Women in Business and BMO for Black and Latinx Businesses to provide better access to affordable credit lending, meaningful partnerships, resources and tools to create more opportunity for growth and real financial progress.
  • Set new diversity goals for senior leader and executive roles through its Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025 strategy, including maintaining its leadership in gender diversity with at least 40 percent of senior leadership roles filled by employees who identify as women.

To learn more about BMO Celebrating Women, visit and join the social conversation using #BMOforWomen.

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 500 branches and fee-free access to over 40,000 ATMs across the United States. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the United States. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, visit the company fact sheet. Accounts are subject to approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a highly diversified financial services provider with total assets of CDN$971 billion as of July 31, 2021.

SOURCE BMO Harris Bank

For further information: Media contact: Laura Micheli, BMO Harris Bank,, (312) 881-0388